The Prepper Journal http://www.theprepperjournal.com Prepping, Survival and Common Sense Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:36:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 How Will I Know When the SHTF?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/23/how-will-i-know-when-the-shtf/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/23/how-will-i-know-when-the-shtf/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:00:53 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11705 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

‘When the SHTF I am bugging out man’! ‘If the SHTF you will be glad you have one of these’. ‘You won’t be able to do that if the SHTF’. ‘When the SHTF you better be prepared’! If you have been anywhere near prepping, survival, self-sufficiency or emergency preparedness content, movies, TV shows, books or […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

‘When the SHTF I am bugging out man’! ‘If the SHTF you will be glad you have one of these’. ‘You won’t be able to do that if the SHTF’. ‘When the SHTF you better be prepared’! If you have been anywhere near prepping, survival, self-sufficiency or emergency preparedness content, movies, TV shows, books or blogs, you have heard someone say a sentence that went roughly like one of those above.

Do you know what everyone means by SHTF?

Just in case there are some of you out there who do not know what this handy little acronym stands for, it is S**t Hits The Fan. When the SHTF basically all hell breaks loose. The exact meaning of SHTF varies by person and sometimes SHTF is used interchangeably with TEOTWAWKI. As in ‘If there is an EMP device exploded over the US it would be TEOTWAWKI’. TEOTWAWKI is another acronym for The End of The World As We Know It which is also used to describe a million different things to different people. One thing we do know though is that when it comes to SHTF or TEOTWAWKI they both mean that bad things happen and most likely our lives will be changed dramatically in some way for some period of time.

I think one of the aspects of prepping has to be with an eye toward a SHTF type of event. We prepare for minor inconveniences like being stranded on the side of the road, or living without power for a couple of days, but with relatively simple steps these two examples are by themselves minor in the grand scheme of things. If you have prepared, there is really nothing to worry about if the power is out. Will you have to adjust and make do? Probably but if you have prepared for a power outage the adjustment could be very minor. Would you be inconvenienced? Most likely, but you will survive.

Most preppers I have talked to are at some point along an arc of preparedness. (I am copyrighting that phrase right now) One end of the arc is no preparedness at all. The other end of the arc is our individual version of being totally prepared or at least extremely prepared. I say extremely prepared because like I have written before; I don’t believe you can ever finish prepping. There should be a point when you are pretty darn set though when you compare yourself to the rest of the world.

The prepared end of the arc is our supplies, skills and gear for really bad things. This is the SHTF that people are preparing for and it is this concept that many are striving for all along. To be actually prepared as well as possible to handle or maybe more accurately, live through a SHTF event. Our preps would ideally help make that possible. The prepared end of the arc deals with Long-term and abundant food storage, plentiful and renewable sources of water, shelter from the elements while at home or in a bug out scenario and survival firearms for each member of your group. Personally, I don’t want to ever need to use my supplies on the ‘Prepared’ end of the Arc but they are there if the time comes.

What does SHTF look like?

And so we get to the big question that I have heard asked a million times. Well, not a million but a lot and that is ‘How will I know when the SHTF’? How will I know when it’s time to bug out and move our family out of harm’s way? How will I know when I need to hunker down, board up the windows and keep watch overnight? The reason so many people want to know this is that they don’t want to be caught unaware. You don’t want to be the last person trying to get out of your town before the roads are too clogged with traffic, or the one who shows up at the grocery store after they have taken everything except the mops back in housewares. Anyone who is prepping for SHTF is doing so because we want to avoid it as much as possible so knowing how to identify the actual moment that the S**T Hits the Fan is pretty important.

The problem is that unless we are talking about huge, cataclysmic national events, defining the moment that it happens is too late is difficult across the scale of everyone in the country. If a huge terrorist attack happens in Los Angeles California but nowhere else, would you as someone living in Las Vegas do anything besides watch the news? If a nuclear bomb went off in New York, would you as someone living in Tennessee go anywhere? I think the answer to almost any situation where we are asking if the SHTF moment has arrived is unfortunately, ‘It depends’.

What does this event mean to me?

There is a famous Supreme Court case, Jacobellis V. Ohio in which the subject was a movie that had been deemed obscene. The movie theater owner who showed the movie had been convicted and his case made it to the Supreme Court where Justice Potter Stewart, in his concurrence with the other judges ruling for overthrowing the case, said with respect to hard core pornography, “I know it when I see it”. There are other details which you can read here, but the point I am trying to make is that there is no universal SHTF moment or series of actions. You can’t point to a terrorist attack and say that for everyone it is a SHTF moment. Now, it most certainly will be for people involved in the event and surrounding areas of course but it may not impact you at all. If it does however, you will most likely know it when you see it.

Well, thanks Pat that wasn’t helpful at all! Maybe you were hoping I would give you a checklist of items to look for to determine when the S had actually HTF? OK, I can do that but each of these would be examples that have to be taken in context. All of that would also need to be considered with your own personal situation. Some items to look for:

  • Loss of Electricity on a regional scale for more than one week
  • Media blackout
  • Martial law declared
  • Door to door gun confiscations – yes they have happened before.
  • Stock Market takes a dive of 10% and they halt trading the next day.
  • Bank holidays are declared and you are not allowed to remove money from your bank. If you are you are limited to a small amount.
  • Attack on US soil – This would be most likely blamed on terrorists of one shape or another
  • Virus outbreak rates that continue to go higher and occurrences start to increase in your city.
  • EMP device that causes massive power outages (multi-state)
  • Nuclear reactor meltdown
  • Natural disasters that impact you locally (fires, tsunami, hurricane, flood, etc.)

These are all examples that in the right context could be signs that we are in a SHTF moment. On the other hand, some of these could be single events that for a large part do not impact you or your family. I have said before that everything depends on the disaster and if something like this is happening to you, in your town things may be totally different from others across the country not affected. Naturally a stock market collapse or EMP doesn’t fall into that category but regional issues would. I always advocate watching the news media – not to hear about the latest starlet who is acting trashy but to get a feel for what is going on in the world. Maintain an active awareness of the news and be prepared to act fast if you get wind of events that you are considering as being a real SHTF event for you.

Will there be a national SHTF event? Who knows? It could be that we have minor SHTF events that happen to us and that doesn’t make them any less real or dire. You could have your own personal TEOTWAWKI moment that doesn’t impact anyone else and you will still need to react.

I believe we have an intuition but we have to tune ourselves to hear it. I think one aspect of that intuition is what prompted me to begin prepping and I believe that for many others out there you have that same feeling. That small voice telling you to prepare; that gut instinct that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. When it comes to your town, I think you will know it when you see it if you are prepared to look for it. Don’t expect the news, FEMA, your governor or me or any so-called expert in the world to tell you when it’s time to go. You will be able to make that decision for yourself.

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How to Find Other Preppers In Your Areahttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/22/find-other-preppers/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/22/find-other-preppers/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:25:11 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11684 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull off unsuspecting sheriff deputies who were foolish enough to follow you when you bug out into the woods… this post might not be for you. […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull off unsuspecting sheriff deputies who were foolish enough to follow you when you bug out into the woods… this post might not be for you. For a lot of the rest of us out here, there is an understood advantage to forming a larger prepping group. You can see the value in a team of people who share the common goal of survival and you realize the wisdom in pooling your resources with a group of individuals who are able to mutually benefit each other in a time of crisis.

The only problem is how to find other preppers near you without possibly ruining any OPSEC you have tried to maintain or by looking desperate.

A reader name Mike sent the following question:

“I am from Truckee CA. and am trying to find other preppers in the Truckee area. The Truckee community seems like they are all using social networks ??? I do not use social networks (too easy to be tracked by the government) any suggestions how I can meet other preppers ???”

Mike mentions that he realizes that people in the prepping community are using social networks but he, like a lot of others doesn’t feel comfortable using them himself. I certainly don’t blame him but I think there are some ways that our modern communication options and yes social media too can be leveraged that would limit your exposure. I am fully aware that the NSA is spying on every single digital piece of our lives so if you aren’t comfortable using social media you should stay off.

Why would you want to meet others?

There is strength in numbers so a larger survival group is going to be able to do more. With more people you have more ideas, more resources, more skills, more intuition, perspective and wisdom. Of course all of those things could be negatives too if personalities clash or if you and your MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) disagrees and you are on the losing side of a particular issue. If there were a true disaster you could wind up in worse shape if your group turns on you so this is one aspect of prepping that deserves a lot of careful research and contemplation.

There are whole books devoted to forming the perfect survival group and how to conduct things like decision-making (who gets to make them) and the creation of rules, a governing body, types of social order and that is beyond the scope of this post. Any group can have good points and bad points, but I think the generally accepted belief is that you would be better off in a group of your choosing now before any crisis than on your own after a crisis. The trick is to choose wisely.

So where would you start in the process of looking for a place to find other preppers? There are some obvious ones and not so obvious ones but I would probably think that finding a responsible mature survival group would not be as simple as searching on a website.

Start out looking for a good friend, not a whole group.

Start out looking for a good friend, not a whole group.

There are websites out there that seem devoted to matching you up with a prepper group. Sites like prepperlink.com and ITS Tactical have forums devoted to helping you find a prepping buddy where you can usually search by location. The idea is that you go into your state, announce yourself as looking for a group and then everyone will talk to you about their group, but I see a few problems with this approach. First, the ideal survival group would have to be on that forum you are looking through, want to talk to you, and on top of that, currently accepting other people. It is really hit or miss.

Never kiss on the first date

There are other websites out there like MeetUp.com which I think are a little more promising. I have used Meetup.com to find a prepping group near me and attended meetings. This group was not what I would call a MAG, but they might grow into that over time. They have regular meetings and are a good place to meet like-minded people. Every time they met there were topics around prepping, survival or self-sufficiency covered. In a setting like this you aren’t really there to specifically join a survival group, but you are interested in what they are saying. I am sure that some of the people were actually involved together but the meetings were much more informal, anyone could join and was probably a way for them to vet members before they approached them. Actually, the Meet Up I attended could have had multiple separate groups and I wouldn’t have known.

For me personally in looking for a survival group I am not so much looking for a group, but looking for people. Each person in the group is going to be someone you trust with your life. If there is no trust, then why join anyone? This may be something that you need to build over time by talking to the most logical choices out there; your friends and family. If you don’t have some friends who share the same beliefs as you, why are you hanging around them?

In all my time as a prepper I don’t know that I have ever been completely transparent with anyone about my motivations, fears and plans for prepping besides my wife. Actually, you the audience of the Prepper Journal are probably more privy to my thoughts than even my wife so in some ways you are my Mutual Assistance Group. You wouldn’t be at my home if the grid went down, but I have learned so much from our readers and from the other blogs in the prepping community. This type of transparency that I discuss about myself and my plans is not what you want to bring to the table on your first meeting with others. I think most of you play your prepping close to the vest too which as it turns out could work in your favor. I know that in specific instances as the case allowed I was able to share information about me that could be common to prepping but it could also fall into other categories. I don’t wear my I’m a Prepper t-shirt into work or anything like that but I have talked to co-workers on occasion as current events brought various topics to the front of conversation.

If you have friends or acquaintances you don’t have to bring up the subject of prepping at all to get a feel generally for how they perceive the world. You could discuss the recent Ebola news to gauge the level of preparedness in some people. You could talk to others about the stock market. Still others you could simply talk about hunting or shooting sports, even gardening or canning. I think the easiest group to join is the one you are already in but maybe those around you don’t have any concept of a Survival Group. Maybe they are looking too?

Do you have friends who share hobbies with you? Do you have family members that you talk to about news and your plans in certain scenarios? This is where I would start because you have a built-in level of comfort with them even on the most basic level. It is certainly better than walking into a room full of strangers or telling everyone on a forum (that anyone can see) what your plans are and where you are living. If you do want to go down that road I would make the following suggestions.

  • If you are using the internet know that what you type could potentially be seen so I would be as anonymous as possible.
  • If you want to check out forums to see if there is anyone in your area that looks promising, sign up with a fake account. Make sure this fake account uses completely fictional information about yourself to include your name, birthday and location. Write it down so you don’t forget what your fake birthday is if they ask for that. Most just want an email and password.
  • Get a new email address that does not have your name in it. Sure, Google or anyone else could find out who you are but if your email is fuzzynavel8141@gmail.com it is better than jerimiah.johnson@gmail.com. This will give you some anonymity from the people you are contacting, not the NSA.
  • Don’t offer up too much information. I would start generally asking questions, but non-invasive questions. You could say you are looking for a group and maybe what your skills are and the general location you live in. See how the conversation progresses. If nobody responds you don’t have your details out there for anyone to read.
  • If you do make contact it might make sense to take anything further offline as much as possible. You can trade emails and take your conversations off the forum. They are still electronic but not out there for everyone to see.
  • I would never use Facebook to look for a survival group. Just forget that.
  • Try MeetUp.com and search for prepper groups or survival or self-reliant living. Go to some meetings and get to know people for a while to see if you have any affinity with anyone there. You might be surprised.
  • Take your time and look at this like dating, sorta. You want a great relationship to blossom here, not a one night stand that you regret. Good things take time and this is no exception. A survival group conveys a huge commitment and an even larger level of trust so make sure you know why you are making the decisions and that the people you are making them with are sound.
  • Try looking for friends first who share your same beliefs and values as opposed to a whole group. One die-hard buddy is worth more than a dozen people you don’t know.

Anyone else have any experience with a survival group they want to share?

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Five Emergency Survival Toolshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/21/five-emergency-survival-tools/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/21/five-emergency-survival-tools/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:00:17 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11669 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

As preppers we strive to acquire skills, knowledge and yes tools that can assist us should we ever be faced with dire circumstances. The actual disaster that you might be facing and you own situation at the present time would necessarily determine what would be required of you to survive. For instance there might be […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

As preppers we strive to acquire skills, knowledge and yes tools that can assist us should we ever be faced with dire circumstances. The actual disaster that you might be facing and you own situation at the present time would necessarily determine what would be required of you to survive. For instance there might be a wildfire burning in the next county over with winds driving toward your house. With some time you could pack the family in the wagon and head out onto the highway to find a hotel or stay with friends a safe distance away. This is a real survival situation for you if the flames were approaching and by the act of bugging out you were responsible for saving your family. Had the flames kept going and you didn’t leave they all might have perished with you if the fire reached your front door.

But for some of us we don’t look at that example as a survival scenario. You had a car and the banks were working as well as your cell phone. You had a place to go and have plenty of clean, dry clothes in your bags packed safely in the mini-van that you just refilled because the pumps are still working fine. You are still able to buy food at a restaurant and aside from the fire, everyone is safe.

A survival situation doesn’t have to look like a reality TV show. I think far too many people imagine survival as being dropped onto a deserted island with nothing but a knife, water bottle (5 camera men) and your wits to keep you alive. Do these things happen to some people? Sure, but not usually unless you purposely head out into nature with the express intent of getting far away. I know that you can get into danger by simply hiking local nature trails over the weekend but how many of us living in the city or suburbs (outside of some real crisis) have to look for shelter, food, find our way to civilization or make a fire?

When I talk about survival tools I am not coming at this from the standpoint of surviving in the jungles of Central America but these emergency survival tools could help there too. Survival to me is staying alive regardless of the location and these five emergency survival tools will help you maintain room temperature.

Can you cut it?

I have been asked this before but I do think the single most important survival tool besides a clear calm head is a knife. Knives have been around forever because they are so incredibly useful. You might think that you wouldn’t need a knife unless you were whittling a stick into a spear or slicing the skin off some animal you trapped in a snare, but you would be wrong. Knives offer so many uses that their importance can’t be overstated.

OK, so you believe you need a knife, but what kind of survival knife? How would you carry it? How much should you spend on a good survival knife? These are all great questions, but each individual needs to answer them for yourself. I will give you my two cents though. There are really two types of knifes for me. There is my big knife for cutting big things and taking a beating and then I have a smaller knife for cutting smaller things. It is not as sturdy.

Kershaw Leek - Excellent EDC knife.

Kershaw Leek – Excellent EDC knife.

Why have two types? It comes down to convenience really. For my EDC (Every Day Carry) knife that I have on my person at all times away from home and usually in my home I have a small folding knife. Now it isn’t so small that I can’t cut anything with it, but it isn’t too large that I can’t stick it in my pocket. I have this because the closest thing I am going to be getting to lost in the wilderness is a park. My small folding knife will still cut almost anything I would need it to and it’s compact size makes it easy for me to carry every day to work.

If I am going into the woods as I hope to do here in the next few weeks with my survival dog on sabbatical, I will leave the folding knife at home and carry my larger Gerber LMF II. This knife is a fixed blade that is far sturdier than my folder and can be used to chop down small trees if I need to. Both of them have a purpose and I chose my knife based upon where I will be, but I always have one on me. You should too.

Looking for love in all the wrong places?

Have you ever been lost? If you are taking a walk in the woods you should carry a compass and a map. I have and love my GPS, but if that goes out I still have my map and a compass. With a compass you don’t have to worry about EMP rendering your device out of commission. Actually, where I have been backpacking we sometimes lose the satellite signal so my compass is the low tech fallback option for finding my way back home to my family.

A great compass is a simple lifesaving survival tool.

A great compass is a simple lifesaving survival tool.

Now, it’s all well and good to have a compass but you need to know how to use a compass and map too? Most anyone I know can pick one up, point it and say, ‘that way’s North’ with authority but will that be enough? Check out this great video on using a compass and map if you need a refresher.

Come on baby light my fire!

If I had a dollar for all the articles I had seen (and a few I have written myself) about the importance of being able to start a fire, I would have… I don’t know; a hundred bucks? Suffice it to say that there are a lot of people out there who are trying to convey the importance of being able to start a fire. Why is fire so important? Just like these other survival tools, it can save your life.

BlastMatch - Single hand operation.

BlastMatch – Single hand operation.

You can learn how to start a fire with a fire plough or the magnifying glass trick or my personal favorite, starting a fire with a bottle of water but really there are easier options. The easiest option is a simple Bic lighter. I have dozens of these strewn around the house and in both my bug out bags, get home bags and the bag I take hiking with me. They are cheap, easy to use and do what they are supposed to do. But, what if they get wet?

Two alternatives to the good old Bic lighter are both called fire steels. I have a Swedish Fire Steel which is a rod that you need to strike with a stainless steel striker or the back of your knife blade to make sparks that are over 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit!! This isn’t just cheap fireworks when you are bored but combine this with the proper amount of dry tinder or WetFire cubes and you will have a flame in no time.

I also have a BlastMatch all-weather fire starter which is the same concept but you can use this one-handed. Perfect for if you are injured or you need to use one hand to block the wind or keep that bear at bay. Both of these great survival tools are waterproof so that gives them an advantage over matches (unless they are waterproof obviously) and Bic lighters. Sure a Bic will dry out if you have the time, but what if you just escaped a raging river, all your gear is soaked, the sun is going down and you are freezing cold? Also, they will last for thousands of fires and you can’t say the same for matches.

Gimme Shelter

Survival Bivvy

Survival Bivvy

Quick, what is the first thing that will kill you? Lack of food? Dehydration from no water? A backhand from a Polar Bear? If you answered polar bear I might have to give that one to you but unless you are in the arctic or dumb enough to climb the fence at your local zoo, the chances of you seeing a polar bear are slim.

Most people fret about starving or dying of thirst though and that isn’t really what you have to worry about the most. Exposure will kill you faster than thirst or hunger and it is something to consider. Have you heard of the rule of threes? The rule of threes goes something like this:

  • You can live three minutes without air
  • You can live three hours without shelter
  • You can live three days without water
  • You can live three weeks without food

Now before you start saying that the most important thing is air, let’s just say that this is a given. If you are suffocating you definitely have big problems, but that isn’t likely either. Most of those survival shows I talked about at the beginning show you how to scavenge for food if you are lost in the wilderness, but like the rule of three says, you can go weeks without food. Will it be fun? No, but you do have bigger problems.

Shelter in this rule means getting too cold (hypothermia) or two hot (hyperthermia) and both are just as bad for your body. If you find yourself in a survival situation there is a tool that you can use to regulate your body temperature and this can keep you alive. In the heat you have to get out of the sun. In the cold you have to conserve heat and a survival bivvy works great for both purposes. As a sun shade you can turn the survival bivvy inside out and let the reflective material reflect the sun off you. It also doubles as a signaling device. When you are cold, climb into the bag and the reflective material will reflect your own body heat back on you keeping you warm.

Fenix Headlamp - Perfect for hands free tasks in zero visibility.

Fenix Headlamp – Perfect for hands free tasks in zero visibility.

I can see clearly now!

Lastly, and one of my favorite survival tools is a flashlight. Well, more precisely it is light because light can solve a world of problems. Can you imagine being lost and not being able to see? One wrong step could land you in a hole that might break your ankle or you could step off a cliff. When I am backpacking I have a Fenix headlamp that I love. I just strap this to my head and I can walk around and do most anything I normally would because I can see clearly where I am going, what is ahead of me and I don’t have to use my hands.

During the day a headlamp is a little bit much but I also carry a small but bright flashlight as part of my EDC. You would be surprised how often I have to use this thing so it does come in handy.

What are some of your favorite survival tools?

 

 

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TitanStraps – Re-Useable Zip Tie: Reviewhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/20/titanstraps-re-useable-zip-tie-review/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/20/titanstraps-re-useable-zip-tie-review/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:19:53 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11649 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Have you ever needed to strap something down and went to look for a length of rope or bungee cord? When I do this it is usually to tie down something on the roof of my car and rope seems to be the best option in most cases, but in order to get a really […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Have you ever needed to strap something down and went to look for a length of rope or bungee cord? When I do this it is usually to tie down something on the roof of my car and rope seems to be the best option in most cases, but in order to get a really perfect length of rope you need to cut your rope. This isn’t always what I have to do but if I needed to secure a tarp for example at various points over my vehicle I could end up needing 8 small pieces of rope. Assuming I tie knots that hold tight and are easy to remove I have 8 small pieces of rope that aren’t good for much else.

I could go with bungee cords too but if the distance between the tie down grommet or item and what I am securing the item to isn’t far enough I have to rig the bungee in a way that it takes up less space. Sometimes this works and others it doesn’t. Another option is a big zip tie and these work great in a lot of places but they are single use. Once you use a zip tie and you need to remove it, its life is over and we toss it into the trash. It is one of the small things in life that I find more frustrating than they need to be.

Well, you are getting worked up over nothing you say. You would be right. I could keep a wider assortment of ropes, bungees and zip ties with me in each vehicle to deal with any situation I run into, or I could work harder at my knot tying skills but I know there has to be an easier or smarter way to do stuff like this. I am not a trucker , don’t work in construction or haul things often, so my practice at tying things down is usually reserved for helping people move, big trips back from the hardware store or packing for an extremely long trip where the baggage weighs more than the people in the vehicle. When I run into a case where I am temporarily foiled by something as simple as a tarp it gets on my nerves.

TitanStraps work for strapping down small items to your Bike or 4-Wheeler

TitanStraps work for strapping down small items to your Bike or 4-Wheeler

Enter TitanStraps. TitanStraps are one of those inventions that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that”? I think the best description I have heard of it is that TitanStraps are like a re-usable zip tie and they work perfectly for so many times that you need a simple strap that is easy to tighten and best of all, remove. The TitanStrap has so many uses that it is limited only by your imagination.

I was sent a few TitanStraps to review for the Prepper Journal and I was impressed by how they felt. TitanStraps are made from a stretchy, high performance polymer. Rather than being hard plastic, the TitanStrap is very supple and its been injected with a 10-year UV additive for extra longevity. The buckle is made from heat-treated aircraft aluminum and fits securely into the holes in the strap. Each TitanStrap is 25” long and can even be daisy chained together to secure larger items. It’s like a belt in that you can wrap it around the item you are securing, slide the other end through and stick the buckle through the holes in the strap.

TitanStraps4

 

I think a challenge may be thinking of a place they don’t work but this primarily comes down to size because the TitanStraps are beefy. As soon as I had these in my hands I started envisioning how they could be used to tie down equipment to my roof in a bug out scenario. I thought of how I could use these on my deer stand to quickly strap up items I had pulled up there with me that I didn’t want occupying the seat but I didn’t want to drop them either. Usually I would just snap a carabiner over the side rail, but this could make noise. Plus, the orange TitanStraps are already colored for safety. My wife would be pleased.

No more little pieces of rope.

No more little pieces of rope.

 

I put a couple of these in my vehicles and some in my get home bag but I probably need at least 4 per vehicle to go along with the rope I have. I know they won’t work in every single instance that I need to tie something down but they are great anywhere a strap will work. If I needed to secure a canoe for example to the front of the car I would need a much longer rope than the titan straps but for many uses, these are perfect. Bungee cords are great in some places too, but you don’t have to worry about a TitanStrap slipping off and that big metal hook taking out an eye. The straps easily unbuckle (just like a belt) and there is no high tension to sling items back at your hands or head.

TitanStraps5

 

Titan Straps come in at least three colors (Orange, Blue and Grey). They did have a black option but I don’t see that on the TitanStraps website at the present time and they have a working load limit of 206lbs. As an added bonus they are made in the USA. You can find them at hardware stores like Home Depot or you can order them from Amazon or on the TitanStraps website. If you are looking for a great tie down strap option, you might want to give the TitanStrap a try. I am sure you will be happy with your choice.

 

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Open Border, Ebola & ISIS: A Perfect Storm For America?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/19/open-border-ebola-isis-perfect-storm-america/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/19/open-border-ebola-isis-perfect-storm-america/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11624 Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

Back in July I wrote an article about the potential for ‘biological warfare’ being waged against America by terrorist groups. Now, the “JV team” (ISIS, according to Obama) ISIS has Baghdad surrounded and it may fall in the coming days or weeks. In martial arts I learned respect, including respect for my opponents. Underestimating a […]

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Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

Back in July I wrote an article about the potential for ‘biological warfare’ being waged against America by terrorist groups. Now, the “JV team” (ISIS, according to Obama) ISIS has Baghdad surrounded and it may fall in the coming days or weeks. In martial arts I learned respect, including respect for my opponents. Underestimating a threat is the undoing of many people, including famous military commanders. We have a president who has underestimated several critical issues, and now he has done the same thing yet again with Ebola.

Americans are all at risk when the administration fails to act timely and effectively. The current administration is plagued with incompetence combined with overconfidence (dangerous combination), and anyone who has been paying attention to the news is hearing that theme loud and clear, from every side of the media.

‘Capability’ regardless of how great, is useless without leadership, planning and timely execution. We have seen none of these qualities fielded by the current administration. In fact, if ISIS is the “JV team”, the Obama administration is the junior high school ‘JV’ team.

Ebola is now in America, contrary to what Obama told Americans a few weeks back. And what is possibly more frightening than the incompetence of Obama and his administration, including the head of the CDC, Dr.Thomas Frieden, is the fact that ISIS commanders have said in no uncertain words that they will send Jihadists who are infected with Ebola to America.

In years past, prior to the Obama open border policy, these Jihadists would have had a far more difficult time gaining access into the American homeland, however that is no-longer the case. In addition to illegal immigrants who are pouring into the U.S. over our southern border, a contingent of whom are known to be Jihadists, are the people who are flying commercial airliners right into America from countries in Africa where the Ebola virus is raging out of control. The number of cases is growing by 10,000 every two weeks according to the WHO.

At every step of the way, the CDC is seen as either holding-back information they have on Ebola, or in some cases, are just plain incompetent and don’t know what they are talking about. For instance, Dr. Frieden the head of the CDC told Americans just a week ago that the incubation period of the Ebola virus was about 21 days. Now we learn from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the incubation period is actually as long as 42 days!

Also not known by the CDC is that (according to the WHO) some of the infected don’t show signs of fever or other symptoms, yet may still be contagious. So these infected people could infect many others without any warning signs.

Now considering the recent promise by ISIS to send Jihadists infected with Ebola to America… it seems that a 42-day incubation period works to their advantage… a long fuse on a deadly ‘viral bomb’. An individual Jihadist has more than enough time to become infected, and while the deadly virus is incubating for many weeks, that individual could easily travel overseas and into America legally, or illegally. I say legally because Obama has seen fit to allow Americans who fought with ISIS to return to America and roam free, and who’s to say if they may be carrying something?

And once an infected Jihadist is in America, do you think that person will check into a hospital when the symptoms appear? Heck no! A Jihadist will make it a point to contaminate the most congested public places, sneezing and coughing, and with some thought, things much worse! The bottom line is that an infected Jihadist is as close to the perfect biological weapon as a terrorist group can get… with an intelligent delivery system. Just keep in mind that these are the same people who wrap themselves in explosives and blow themselves and others to pieces.

Many other countries, including France and Great Britain have closed their doors to flights from the infected African countries, while Obama has elected to keep allowing people to arrive across America daily! And during a time when the CDC can’t find its own backside with both hands! And it seems now that the best information on Ebola is coming from the WHO, and not the CDC, which has been coined as the ‘Center For Disease Confusion’ by some radio talk show hosts.

And now, to top off the lunacy from the top office, Obama is considering sending even more of our countrymen and women (National Guard and other soldiers) into the infected countries of Africa! This is just stupidity at its finest! When we look at the facts on the ground in Texas, where nurses working in a top hospital environment and who have training and hazmat suits are now infected with Ebola, any logical person would stop and re-think the situation. Sending a bunch of young men and women into a raging Ebola epidemic with less experience and training than the Texas nurses had is a disaster in the making of monumental proportions. And here again, with a 42-day incubation period, how do we handle asymptomatic soldiers returning home, who may be infected and inside that incubation period? Are we going to quarantine hundreds or thousands of our soldiers? Or just let them come back into society when we know that some will become contagious and infect dozens/hundreds of other people in their home towns?

Some readers may be asking the question as to why I am outlining these particular issues. There is a very logical rationale for outlining and detailing these issues: Too many American people are being caught-up in the false rhetoric (don’t worry, we have it under control’) because they want to believe and trust they will be ‘OK’. So it’s important that others are doing the calculus and digging into the daily contradictions and then outlining them, which hopefully stimulates others to do their homework.

Americans need to know what the real facts are, so they can themselves take the needed actions to protect themselves from what may be coming; a full-on Ebola Epidemic in America. Quite frankly, a death by beheading would be merciful compared to a death by Ebola, which we now learn from the WHO is about 70% fatal (the CDC was wrong on that point too).

Americans need to understand why they must rely on themselves for being prepared, and that is why it is important to focus on the failings of the current administration and its policies.

In the case of Ebola: An ounce of prevention (preparedness) is worth a pound of cure.

 

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

www.WilliameSimpson.com
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6505899/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper

CaptainBillFrequent contributor, Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, who has successfully survived long-term off the grid at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family using sailboats that he equipped for that purpose. Capt. Bill holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial inspected passenger vessels, including, power, sail and assistance towing vessels. He is also the author of many articles on sailing and the book ‘The Nautical Prepper’ (Ulysses Press) You can read more from the Nautical Prepper on Capt. Bill’s personal site at www.williamesimpson.com

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Perspectives: Avoiding Hysteriahttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/18/perspectives-avoiding-hysteria/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/18/perspectives-avoiding-hysteria/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:00:39 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11613 Written by Matt Sevald on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by Matt Sevald. There’s been a lot of conjecture, gossip, and rumor surrounding Ebola in our country lately. How much is true? Who’s “fault” is it? Can we trust the government? How can I avoid it? These are questions running through our nation’s minds and […]

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Written by Matt Sevald on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by Matt Sevald.

There’s been a lot of conjecture, gossip, and rumor surrounding Ebola in our country lately. How much is true? Who’s “fault” is it? Can we trust the government? How can I avoid it? These are questions running through our nation’s minds and the answers are up to each of us to determine for ourselves. In the end, we are all responsible unto ourselves for our own survival. We know this intrinsically, and self-preservation is perhaps the largest motivating force behind Prepping. Even if the government with all its brain power and financial resources could take care of us, we don’t believe it should, and when government fails or when we perceive it as inept or devious we rightfully retreat from its grasp. But in our quest to keep ourselves safe, is there a point when we step through the looking-glass and become paranoid?

In my work as a 911 dispatcher Ebola has taken a front row seat in our conversations as well as in the form of CDC training emails and other information from higher up in our chain of command. Our focus is how to limit Ebola’s impact on our local public safety agencies if it happens to strike in our neck of the woods as well as how to handle it out amongst the public in a safe and responsible manner. A couple of my coworkers are Preppers as well and we have our own discussions about working together, stockpiling resources, ensuring we pass vital information to each other, and determining how we can augment our dispatch center’s protocols to help keep us all safe. We consider these things as natural as breathing not because we are afraid, but because we see logical value in taking thought-out, reasoned steps to safeguard our loved ones against potential threats and unknowns.

As we enter traditional flu season, many people are worried about being able to effectively detect Ebola since its earliest of symptoms are flu-like. One of the early symptoms is a fever which can be beaten with Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or aspirin while still leaving the person contagious. In particular, given that I live in a tourist town and we are in the middle of the annual Huntsman World Senior Games (think senior Olympics) a concern has arisen that people with potentially compromised or suppressed immune systems (due to natural processes associated with advanced age) could be traveling into our area from all over the country or even internationally. Are we getting folks from Sierra Leone signed up to do pickle-ball? No. But we have people from Canada, China, and the Caribbean and who knows if they were on any of these flights with afflicted Ebola patients or with people who came into contact with them. Is this a rational concern? The CDC says they’re monitoring and in contact with people whom they believe are at risk, but the “monitoring” and quarantines imposed have been broken by people, including trained doctors because they were tired of it and wanted to go get some soup! You tell me if it is a rational concern.

Reasonable Precautions or Chicken Little?

According to my own unscientific anecdotal observations there appear to be three schools of thought regarding Ebola:

1) Laissez-faire or Que sera, sera;

2) PANIC! and

3) Prepare, Observe, React, Adjust.

It seems to me that our Federal government espouses the first school of thought via the President putting on a public facade of “everything’s groovy man, things are under control”. The CDC is also to blame for continuing to preach that Ebola is not transmitted via air and even contradicting themselves about whether or not it is when eminent doctors caution that it is airborne and there was documented proof that in 1989 Ebola was known to be airborne in a lab mishap in Virginia. This sort of head-in-the-sand denial about the potential for Ebola to get worse is why we still haven’t banned flights from infected countries. However, to the President’s credit, he skipped fundraising to have a cabinet meeting about Ebola and House Speaker John Boehner has begun calling for that travel ban.

As far as the “PANIC!” school of thought goes, I think we Preppers often get blamed for it (whether we’re panicking or not) and we certainly can fall victim to hysteria, even more than the general public because of our hyper-vigilant mindset. Already we have seen a woman wearing a full hazmat suit to the airport and an airport worker forced to remove mask and gloves or be fired out of fear he would spark a panic. Sales of masks and “survival kits” are on the rise in both Britain and the United States. Keep in mind that Prepping is supposed to give us an edge for these sorts of scenarios so that we don’t have to panic. I advocate having health care supplies, but it’s not time to lock ourselves in the bunker just yet.

ThreatMatrixThe most logical way to go about any problem, large or small, while having the best outcome is to think it through rationally. We still have time to do this and we should do it and encourage all the people we know to do this. As the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water…” and so it is that not all of our friends and loved ones will heed our advice, but at least you tried. I believe the best way to approach this Ebola outbreak is to make the proper basic preps: Water, Food, Hygiene, Security, etc. I also believe it is important to have a threat response matrix which addresses your unique needs and abilities, concerns, politico-geographical area, and is flexible. This tool simply puts to words possible problems and your responses to them in a clear manner which is easily understood and adhered to by people you’re taking care of. There’s no time like the present to prepare because you don’t want to be in the middle of something terrible and wonder “Will my kids have enough to eat?” or perhaps a family member breaches protocol by bringing in an infected neighbor out of compassion because they didn’t know about your rules since they weren’t printed. I made one up for my family when Ebola first came to the US and my wife thought it was overbearing, scary, and more than a bit ridiculous. Having served in the Marine Corps, I thought it was the perfect tool for the job. We’re still working that one out, but rest assured I will see to it that we’re prepared.

Listen to your Gut but Temper it with Reason

I’ll close with a news article I just read after a work discussion on this topic, both of which moved me to write this article. It does a very reasonable job of putting into perspective our natural ability and inclination to use emotion for decision-making when there are unknowns (something nature has wired into us and has been useful for eons) and our ability to rationally think through problems when evidence is presented.

Some good points are made:

  • 30,000 people die in America each year from the flu and millions catch it, yet we don’t freak out over that yearly pandemic.
  • So far only 1 person has died from Ebola in America and so far only 2 people have caught it.
  • The last time we had a nation-wide medical scare was regarding Anthrax in 2001 and the cases of hoax and hysteria (people reporting false symptoms that were in their head) vastly outnumbered the actual number of real anthrax incidents
  • The human mind trends towards bias when emotion is involved. E.g. 1-in-a-million chances are recognized as effectively “zero”, but when someone we know “knows” someone who had something bad happen them we wonder “am I the 1-in-a-million”?
  • Ebola, like SARS, MERS, bird flu, swine flu, etc is exotic, strange, foreign, and something that third world countries get and that can terrify us, not only because it is unknown, but because there really is little we can do as individuals to prevent its spread. Additionally, death from Ebola is gruesome and painful and that can terrify us as well, much the same as airplane crashes can have us wondering what those final moments will be like.
  • The 24 hour news cycle inundates us with constant images of bodies, orphans, images of the virus magnified several hundred million times, “alerts”, press conferences, people in hazmat suits, reports of “suspected” patients and lapses in government oversight. What else are we supposed to think and feel when hammered like that?
  • Social media and the blogosphere allow billions of people to communicate instantaneously over tens of thousands of miles to spread gossip, ideas, and fear.

 

FDR once told us that “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That might be a bit of an understatement, but the principle is sound. Nothing spreads faster than fear and gossip about the unknown. If we allow hysteria to consume us we will be destroyed faster than if we caught Ebola.

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What is Your Self Quarantine Plan?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/17/self-quarantine-plan/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/17/self-quarantine-plan/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11602 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The news has been almost completely focused on Ebola for the last couple of weeks and information outlets are pouring out details by the minute. This type of event is what the 24-Hour news cycle was created for and pundits on every side are breathlessly announcing news, interviewing witnesses and experts and showing hour after […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The news has been almost completely focused on Ebola for the last couple of weeks and information outlets are pouring out details by the minute. This type of event is what the 24-Hour news cycle was created for and pundits on every side are breathlessly announcing news, interviewing witnesses and experts and showing hour after hour of footage of hospitals, people in yellow gowns, nitrile gloves and face-masks. It is enough to make a sane person crazy and it is a sober reminder to preppers everywhere that precautions for events like this are valid, prudent and perhaps in some of our cases, just in the nick of time.

Well, the Prepper Journal audience is full of sane people. I believe that most people who call themselves preppers are focused on taking simple logical steps to ensure the safety of their closest loved ones. It makes sense to pay attention to the news and shore up any supply needs that you might have. I believe it is very wise to keep an eye on the events in Dallas and elsewhere in the world in the event that this virus does grow outside of the limited scope that we have seen so far in the US at least.

When it is all said and done, this “outbreak” which isn’t really an outbreak at all here thankfully could end up disappearing from the news just as quickly as it came. Of course, it could also grow more serious. We aren’t clear exactly how Ebola is transmitted although very smart people are saying that it is hard to catch. So far, I am inclined to believe them only for the primary reason that we only have 3 cases at this time. Should that change I will be prepared to act and I am not going to relax simply because experts tell me not to be alarmed. I am not alarmed, but I am watching events closely as I am sure the rest of you are as well.

Self-Quarantine to reduce exposure risk

If Ebola does start to become a larger problem; if we begin to see a spike in cases, one possible option for limiting your exposure could be as simple as staying home.  Self-Quarantine is the practice of taking yourself out of the world so to speak to avoid contact with others completely. This is pretty much bugging in by definition. The NBC News crew that returned from reporting on Ebola had their cameraman test positive for Ebola so they agreed to Self Quarantine themselves to eliminate exposure to the public for the recommended incubation period of up to 21 days. In the case of Dr. Nancy Snyderman, this proved too long and soon they were caught out at a local restaurant which led to a huge public outcry and a weak apology from the doctor.

I won’t argue that staying in quarantine for up to 21 days would be very difficult, especially if you were alone, but if things do turn worse we might all be better off staying indoors. If Ebola cases increase substantially, we might not have a choice if Executive Order 13295 is put into action. 13295 allows for the “apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases.” Would you rather stay in your home and ride out the Ebola event or wherever the government wants to stick you? If you were faced with voluntary or involuntary quarantine to protect your family from Ebola, what would you need to consider?

Getting information is crucial.

Getting information is crucial.

Infrastructure for Self Quarantine

Not surprisingly, the CDC website has a lot of information about quarantine mostly from the viewpoint of the SARS epidemic back in 2003, but I believe the concepts and topics are still just as relevant if your goal is to reduce or eliminate possible exposure to infected individuals. Major infrastructure considerations for self-quarantine are:

  • Communication Options – Telephone, cell phones, Ham Radio to keep in touch with others outside of your home. Shortwave radio is another good option assuming the regular lines of communication are down.
  • Electricity – In a grid up scenario this should be fine, but if the grid goes down, do you have enough electricity for up to 21 days of isolation?
  • Heat Source – Winter is approaching so a plan to keep warm is important. I have Kerosene Heaters and plenty of stored fuel but I would personally need to augment my supply for very cold conditions. Right now, cold isn’t a factor, but 21 days without power in January would be tougher.
  • Potable Water – A core element of any prepper supply list is to have water on hand. Enough water for one gallon per person per day. If you have a family of 4 and are forced into quarantine from Ebola for 21 days that would be 84 gallons of water at a minimum.
  • Waste and Sanitation – As long as the utilities are functioning this shouldn’t be a problem, but if the crisis explodes (no pun intended) you may not have city water to fill the toilets so alternate accommodations would need to be made. Grid down sanitation options are one possibility but would require you to go outside if the water and sewer lines were out of commission.
  • Food – Do you have enough food to last for 21 days for your entire family? Again, with society still functioning I guess you could have neighbors bring food over but you wouldn’t want to be going to the grocery store.
  • Entertainment – 21 days in your home is a long time. 21 days cooped up with your family is an eternity in the most easy going and loving homes. You should have a plan to counter boredom if you want to preserve your sanity along with your health.

 

Accommodations for Self Quarantine

If you are limiting your exposure as a family unit and by that I mean if everyone in your family is together in this then you can go on living (with certain exceptions) as you were although you wouldn’t be going outside. Would you stop your mail or risk exposure by touching something that another individual had contacted?

I am sure that it depends somewhat on the nature of any potential Ebola outbreak. It could be that the current convention that you must come in contact with bodily fluids from infected people in order to contract the disease holds. If that were the case, you could probably safely move about your yard, but quarantine does mean your trips to the malls, movie theaters, school events, plays, sporting events, hospital visits to sick friends would all be out of the question.

  • Could you work from home? – In today’s environment there are many of us who could work from home full time. As long as I had internet, power and a cell phone I could work anywhere in the world. Online meetings will probably be more common if travel is restricted during any outbreak. Actually, that would be fine with me too as the last place I would want to be during any kind of disease outbreak is at an airport or any place away from home really.
  • Could your children do schoolwork at home? – This would be tough for some but I imagine that a lot of schools would have to offer concessions in the case of quarantine. Certainly if the government locked everything down schools would either forgive homework or lean on online systems that are largely in place already. We still have one child that is home-schooled so she wouldn’t get out of anything, but another already gets her assignments online so staying out wouldn’t be a huge burden.
  • How would you pay your bills? – As long as we have money in the accounts, almost all of our bills except my weekly tithe are done electronically. If that goes down we have bigger problems.

Provided you had running water, power and a job that would allow you to stay home you should only need food to survive outside of climatic extremes. Take all of that away though and your self-imposed quarantine could still save your life, but it would be much harder. Again this assumes that Ebola will always and only be passed from bodily fluids. In this case self-quarantine to reduce exposure should be doable for most people with even basic preparations. Let’s hope we don’t see anything worse.

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Prepping for Senior Citizens if SHTFhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/16/prepping-for-senior-citizens-shtf/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/16/prepping-for-senior-citizens-shtf/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11594 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Prepping as a senior citizen presents its own unique challenges and circumstances that may necessarily need to be addressed in a different way from person to person. Each of us should have some members of our family who could be considered as Senior citizens unless you are hanging out with your drinking buddies and don’t […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Prepping as a senior citizen presents its own unique challenges and circumstances that may necessarily need to be addressed in a different way from person to person. Each of us should have some members of our family who could be considered as Senior citizens unless you are hanging out with your drinking buddies and don’t plan to encounter or care for anyone other than yourself if the grid goes down. For those who do or even if you are a senior citizen yourself, I wanted to write an article addressing what senior citizens should do to prepare for SHTF or what you who might be caring for senior citizens might consider. Before I begin, I fully understand and appreciate that there are some seniors out there that could out work, out think and outperform me. This article isn’t for you obviously because I am a firm believer that you are never too old to prep but this article is geared toward the people we love and care for who need assistance and may rely on us when the time comes.

I want to start by making the claim that as a society, we have largely relegated the care of our senior citizens to others. We put our parents and grandparents into nursing homes or assisted living facilities rather than bring them into our homes. This is done for a wide array of reasons, but usually the main reason given is that “they can be cared for better” at some facility away from us. This may be true on one level in that these facilities have trained staff and equipment that the average person does not have, but I think we suffer on a human scale as a result of shifting this burden for caring for our seniors to someone else. By delegating the care they receive we absolve ourselves of the responsibility even if we are shouldering the cost of the care and the by-product is a society that values life less. We will go to great lengths to reduce the amount of trouble we personally have to go through to care for a loved one if we can afford it. If we can’t, seniors are usually sent to government facilities where the care is even worse.

Imagine SHTF and there is no Sunny-side Acres to drop your mother off at. There are no healthcare providers that can help your family member get dressed, go to the bathroom, eat or wash themselves. What will you do then? What if the grid goes down and your elder Grandparent is trapped at a facility without power? Would you go get him? What if the grid goes down and eventually your mother starts showing signs of dementia?

Physical Health Issues

All of us age and certain things are to be expected as we start adding more years onto our life. Preppers can take steps now to understand and plan for these situations so that either for ourselves or loved ones we can be better able to deal with the effects of growing old without the safety nets we have now.

I think the most important thing we can do regardless of our age is to get into the best physical shape possible. Health will pay benefits that cannot be measured in dollars and simply being able to walk for some distances could be the difference between life and death. I am not talking about seniors with physical handicaps, we’ll get into that later but as we age our strength, flexibility and endurance all suffer. Some of this can be reversed or delayed by simply leading an active healthy lifestyle. Exercise is free and will improve your overall, mental and physical health which will without a doubt be crucial in a disaster or crisis event.

If you need to bug out, being able to walk possibly for miles will be critical. I personally know several people who would have a hard time with that and I am not talking about people over 70. I know several younger people that fit this mold too, but we are talking about prepping for senior citizens here. Health is critical.

There is only so much you can do though so what if your relatives are on medication or are already confined to wheel chairs, strollers or need oxygen? Medications are probably the first you want to knock down for must-have prescriptions. Ideally any medication that is not directly responsible for a health condition would be weaned slowly (following physician’s advice and care) so that it wouldn’t be necessary. If that isn’t possible and time constraints might make that so, having a few months’ supply on hand will insulate the senior in your care for some time. Ask your doctor if you can stock up for the winter or because you are taking an around the world cruise.

Alternately, you should look for natural homeopathic medicine options that might fit the bill in a crunch scenario. Some medicines might require refrigeration so having a plan for backup power in a power outage would be critical for keeping insulin cold. If the insulin runs out or refrigeration isn’t an option you could try more austere measures and Dr. Bones has a 5-part article on the topic of Diabetes and Survival. Essentially this discusses one option for life without insulin and how important that is when prepping for senior citizens.

Mobility issues for those who can’t walk long distances or require assistance are going to be much harder to circumvent on foot. Even if you have a wheel chair it likely won’t be going off-road very well. There are hunting game carts that can handle a large amount of weight that can be used in a pinch but if this is your reality having a bug out location and a plan you are ready to implement early on in any crisis would be ideal. A game cart isn’t going to be ideal for a person without some serious modifications but it could handle their bug out bag so they didn’t have to carry it.

There aren’t any solutions for every problem and the reality of your situation and the crisis is going to dictate what you can do.

Mental Issues

In addition to physical considerations you could be faced with mental issues that are a routine part of aging. Additionally, you could encounter resistance to change, apathy or crippling fear that could render the senior unable to move or act. As we age, our minds aren’t always as sharp as they were when we were younger so some seniors may need reminders or help with directions. The individual will dictate how self-sufficient they will be but you should prepare now to motivate in ways that you hadn’t considered before.

With my own family, I am pretty confident I will be able to lead them where I need to go. I am pretty sure they will listen to what I have to say and act more or less without too much question. With someone who is old enough or was actually responsible for putting diapers on your butt it could be a different story altogether.

Have you ever tried to talk to someone significantly older than you and try to change their mind about some topic? In essence you were trying to show that you knew more than they did and right or wrong, the elder person didn’t take what you said at face value or blew you off completely? Now imagine there is a crisis and you have to get this person to safety. They may not even believe there is a problem or they may be scared or unwilling to leave their home.

When a disaster is upon us making some seniors make life changing decisions will be a tough prospect. If they are fully in control of their mental faculties they may be more in tune with what is going on. If not, you could have a fight on your hands. It may be best to come up with alternate reasons for taking them from their comfort zone. Instead of saying we have to leave before the Ebola pandemic comes, it might be something like we have to go to Aunt Bunnies birthday party!

Seniors have skills you may have overlooked.

Seniors have skills you may have overlooked.

Overlooked Resources

Seniors may have issues that will cause frustration and possibly more work on your end but if you truly care for them you have to do whatever you can to bring them along with you safely. It isn’t like these mature people are just giant babies that need to be coddled, seniors have so much to offer in the way of survival that their importance should not be discounted.

For one thing, seniors bring a wealth of experience and skill that you may never have even learned. Seniors alive now lived through the great depression so their first-hand experience and advice could save you a ton of effort and time. They might not be able to do the more manually labor intensive tasks, but they might know how to do things you need for survival like gardening, hunting or repairs. They might be the Ham Radio operator that gives your survival group the communications it needs to stay in contact with the world. They could be avid re-loaders who have the skills and equipment to cast bullets for your survival firearms or a million other things you haven’t thought of yet.

Seniors are not a burden, they just have different needs and limitations, but we should respect their lives, value their contributions to prepping and never forget that without them we wouldn’t be here today.

 

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Will a Fence Protect You When the Grid Goes Down?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/15/will-fence-protect-you-grid-goes/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/15/will-fence-protect-you-grid-goes/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:00:45 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11580 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

A Prepper Journal reader, Andrew asked the following question on our Contact form the other day: I’m wondering if you guys could do a write up of the pros and cons of a fenced property as well as a gated driveway. It is something I have considered for some time but would be very much […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

A Prepper Journal reader, Andrew asked the following question on our Contact form the other day:

I’m wondering if you guys could do a write up of the pros and cons of a fenced property as well as a gated driveway. It is something I have considered for some time but would be very much interested in what people more in the know think of these security options.

If anyone else has any questions, please send them in, or comment on any post. Your conversations help everyone in the Prepper community learn and if anyone has additional feedback to what I write here, please add that below.

A fence for home protection

When it comes to keeping people out or keeping them in, a fence is one of the first things considered. Naturally any secure area or building has a fence around it –  sometimes several fences. The most secure fences would additionally have a roll of razor wire at the top to detract would-be climbers from making it over unscathed or be electrified; possibly both.

In residential areas you are usually more limited in what you would even consider putting around your property. In my case, I wouldn’t be able to add that big prison fence to the sides of my yard because my wife wouldn’t allow it. Now before I get comments like I need to grow a pair, I will add that I wouldn’t want a large fence either. It isn’t like a large fence would help my falling property value and unless I am in a fortress it just doesn’t go with my landscaping.

When we first brought our survival dog home we talked about a fence to keep her enclosed in our yard. We priced out a traditional chain-link fence for our yard that would have given us some peace of mind if we ever wanted to let her go unattended. The over $5000 price list made me throw that idea out the window. I know that I could have installed a chain link fence myself, but I didn’t want to tackle that project on my own. Assuming money was no object, the question was, is a fence a good idea when the grid goes down? Will a fence protect you or keep the bad guys away? Are there any yard security measures you could take that would make a difference in a grid down world?

The Pros and Cons

Items like a chain link fence can improve your property’s value if done in a way that doesn’t detract from the appearance of your yard in most cases. Fences can keep children and pets in while keeping smaller children and pets out of your yard. There is usually a state law to have a fence if you have a pool to prevent anyone from stumbling into the water and drowning. Fences create a nice boundary line and frame your property in a way that for some is more pleasing than the openness of yards without borders. Aside from the aesthetic reasons and the property value implications (of which I really am not qualified to speak to) are fences good at realistic protection?

Assuming we are talking about traditional residential fences here, I don’t believe they offer anything on their own in the way of serious protection. Could they slow someone down? Yes, but for how long? Even the White House fence proved no match for a determined man. Fences can easily be cut with a plain pair of bolt cutters (which I recommend everyone have as part of a complete prepper supply list of items), or run over with just about any car and then the illusion of protection would be shattered pretty quickly. If you are planning on buying and installing a fence, I wouldn’t expect this alone would keep you safe from anything more than those small children and pets. They might be a better deterrent while there is no crisis going on, but if the grid goes down, do you really expect a fence to keep anyone out for long?

Security gates may slow down vehicles, but what about people on foot?

Security gates may slow down vehicles, but what about people on foot?

What about a big security gate on your driveway? These are frequently more substantial than a fence, but they have their weaknesses too. Even with a gate, you are probably only going to slow down vehicles, but people can walk in or around those gates. I look at these like expensive locks on my shed. They are there to keep honest people out, not the criminals who will find a way to get around these basic security measures in a truly violent reality if they are motivated.

So should you do nothing?

I think in some situations, fences and gates can slow people down but they won’t stop anyone who is really determined for long. You can use these as your early warning system though and deploy perimeter alarms at the gates and on the fences to alert you when these obstacles have been breached. In a home invasion scenario this could give you precious seconds of advance warning to either make it to your home defense weapon or safe room and possibly call 911.

Those are my thoughts, what do you think?

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10 Prepping Tips To Deter Burglarshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/14/10-prepping-tips-to-deter-burglars/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/14/10-prepping-tips-to-deter-burglars/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:59:45 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11563 Written by Roger Gallager on The Prepper Journal.

When it comes to chances of your home being broken into, the odds are not exactly on your favor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that one in every 36 homes in America is likely to be attacked by burglars. Do you know how frequent that is? Take this: one home is being broken into […]

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Written by Roger Gallager on The Prepper Journal.

When it comes to chances of your home being broken into, the odds are not exactly on your favor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that one in every 36 homes in America is likely to be attacked by burglars. Do you know how frequent that is? Take this: one home is being broken into every 13 seconds.

In 2012, more than two million homes fell to burglars accounting for 23% of property crimes. So if you think your home and your family are not at risk, think again. Whoever you are and wherever you live, burglars will find a way. If you are not careful, you can be on top of their list.

There are simple and practical tips to deter burglars that homeowners sometimes take for granted, making it easier for burglars to do their job. Sometimes it is as simple as closing and locking your doors. Do not sacrifice your family’s safety, privacy, and sanity by failing to take these simple precautions. Here are ten reminders to put off burglars:

Lock the doors

How easy can that be? And how easily forgotten?

The FBI Crime Report showed that 34% of break-ins are through a front door. Burglars are not rocket scientists and the first thing they look for is nothing but an unlocked door. About 30% of the time, they are in luck.

Aside from making sure the doors are locked, invest in a sturdy door. Burglars are desperate and aggressive and most of the time, they can pry a door open with just a few simple tools and one good kick. Make things extra hard for them by securing your door with a high quality deadbolt lock. A snug-fitting dowel can also help.

Secure your windows

Windows are also a common point of entry. Some 22% of burglaries start on the first floor window. Sliding glass windows are especially vulnerable. Use tempered and laminated glass for added security and make sure they have secondary locking devices. Putting metal window bars will also add a layer to privacy and security. Do not invite thieves by opening your curtains throughout the day without checking if your windows are secured.

Beware of the dog

Most burglars avoid homes with dogs. Dogs are not only man’s best friend. Their bark attracts attention and poses physical threat (especially big dogs). Burglars want to accomplish their mission with as little noise as possible and dogs will make it inconvenient for them.

Set up alarms

Security agency Safeguard The World estimated that homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be broken into. Burglars agree.

A 2013 research by the Electronic Security Association revealed that 83% of offenders said they would attempt to determine if a target has an alarm system. Sixty percent said they would go on to look for another target and discontinue the attempt. Aside from the sound of an alarm, another way to protect your family is to find an efficient way to install a surveillance camera that scares 40% of burglars and keeps them away. Security cameras could also help identify burglars and throw them in jail.

Put up “beware” signs

If you have a dog, an alarm system, or hidden security cameras in your home, let the burglar know about it. A visible sign that your home is protected tells the burglar that there will be consequences upon breaking into your home.

Mind your keys

Never make a habit of leaving a spare key under the doormat or the flower pot. Someone could see you leave or retrieve the key at one point. Don’t put information on your key that can reveal where you live because you might lose it and it would be fairly easy for a burglar to trace your address.

Make sure someone’s home

Make sure your home looks occupied even when is not. The FBI reported that most burglaries happen during daytime from 10am to 3pm when residents are in school or at work. Burglary incidence is also highest during summer months when families are on vacation (and announce them on social media).

Make sure your home appears lived in when everyone’s away. Use timers on your TV, radio, or lights that will automatically turn them on to give the illusion that someone is home. Contact billing agencies not to deliver your mail only to leave them in the mail box or in front of your door. A mail not picked up is a sign no one’s home. You could also ask a trusted neighbor to collect them for you.

Trim your yard

An untidy lawn does not only give the impression that a home is unoccupied. Shaggy shrubs and untrimmed trees also provide a good cover and good hiding places for burglars. Stand in front of your yard and ask yourself: can thieves possibly hide in these bushes?

Be a friendly neighbor

You are not a superhero and you can’t do things on your own all the time. Be friendly to your neighbors because you are going to need them. For example, when you are on your vacation, you can ask some of your neighbors to park in front of your home every now and then so it will look occupied. Ask a trusted neighbor to trim your lawn and pick up your mail and deliveries. Make sure they keep you in the loop whenever bad things happen in the neighborhood.

Think like a burglar

Put yourself in the shoes of a burglar. Look around your home and see if it is possible to be broken into. Look for red flags and weakest points of entry. Stand outside your home and check if it looks empty and looks vulnerable to burglars. Try breaking into your home to see if the doors and windows are secured and if the alarm system is working. Look at your home from a burglar’s point of view: if you were a burglar, would you target it?

Burglary is a crime of opportunity. Bad guys will take every chance they can get. Do not compromise your family’s safety and security by failing to do these deterrents — from installing alarm systems to simply locking your doors. These are simple and practical ways to secure your home and give everyone in your family peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.

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Is Illegal Immigration An Elitist Agenda?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/13/illegal-immigration-elitist-agenda/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/13/illegal-immigration-elitist-agenda/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 02:14:07 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11554 Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: I have been out-of-town for the last week and the posts haven’t been updated as much as I am used to which is probably a good thing when all is said and done. Our vacation home was supposed to have Wi-Fi but that didn’t work out. Instead of sitting around for hours writing […]

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Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: I have been out-of-town for the last week and the posts haven’t been updated as much as I am used to which is probably a good thing when all is said and done. Our vacation home was supposed to have Wi-Fi but that didn’t work out. Instead of sitting around for hours writing posts each day, I was able to enjoy some time with my family and I am sure it goes without saying which is better for me. Playtime is over though and tomorrow we will resume our regularly scheduled posts on the Prepper Journal and I hope you will join me again. In the meantime we have another great guest post from our friend Captain Bill. Enjoy!


As it has been said: “Houston, we have a problem”! The numbers of illegal immigrants gaining access into the U.S. and then disappearing within the country is at all-time highs according to many reports.

 

U.S. Immigrant Population and Share over Time, 1850-Present

U.S. Immigrant Population and Share over Time, 1850-Present

And as a class of potential voters, illegal immigrants are statistically significant. So much so that they could potentially vote, even as illegals given the lack of safeguards, to make things even easier for other illegal immigrants. As far back as 2004, there were over 2.5 million illegal immigrants in just California alone! Today there are more than 3-million illegal immigrants in California alone, which cost the State’s tax-payers $25-Billion annually!

But what’s worse is that it seems there is a clear agenda by the current administration to allow these illegal immigrants to actually remain in the U.S. illegally, and to get education, medical care and jobs. But why would anyone want this? Who benefits from this? Certainly not the American taxpayers!

Many politically oriented strategists simply view the problem from the political point of view as a ‘balance of power’ between parties related to votes. Generally, I tend to disagree, since both the current political ‘parties’ are more or less subverted by the power of money and influence.

There are many potential dangers with the advent of the recent massive influx of illegal immigrants, which include an unchecked influx of dangerous criminals and members of terrorist groups, as well as individuals who are carrying various diseases, some of which are quite serious and highly contagious!

However I fear there may be an even more sinister undercurrent lurking in the actions (or lack thereof in this case) of the current administration.

Generally, when you ask Americans about the current government, the words ‘lawless’ and ‘out of control’ are commonly mentioned as disapproval ratings skyrocket for most politicians, especially the current administration.

But is the government really out of control? Now that is the question; or are they obeying the directives of the unseen elitists who are actually pulling all the strings?

Some people refer to these unseen zillionaires with terms like ‘Illuminati’, and other conspiracy theory driven descriptors. I really think it’s much simpler than a conspiracy… it’s just simple corporate business strategy being carried out by the politicians they control using multinational national tactics. Here’s what I mean…

This class of elitists are so wealthy that individually they own dozens of large corporations (these people are not found on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people, by design). As of result of the disjointed efforts of the socialist driven environmentalist movement, these greedy elitists decided they could make more money by moving many of their corporations offshore, along with their numerous individual and corporate bank accounts… however, as we have seen as of late, having offshore operations isn’t as profitable as it was just a couple decades ago. Foreign governments are increasingly more corrupt and unstable, and that translates into higher costs for doing business, and that in turn offsets the savings from the cheap overseas labor force and lack of regulations; not good for the bottom line!

Hmmm… what’s a wealthy elitist to do about this problem?

Well… since the elitists have so much of the current government in their hip pockets and working for them, there is a lot they can do! And what keeps them laughing is they have us, the U.S. taxpayers, paying the government to essentially carry-out their agendas!

First-off, they use their socialist-progressive friends and their highly integrated media psy-ops programs to convince Americans it’s OK to be poor; as long as everyone is equally poor. And that some austerity measures are reasonable given the past excesses of Americans, while simultaneously taxing the heck out of Americans, thereby effectively making them even poorer across the board. In fact, the ‘middle-class’ has almost disappeared in many States across the America:

Next, you import a whole new labor force into the county (America) that is fully under your control (as compared to foreign countries); a labor force that is large (in the millions) and who will work really cheap; and illegal immigrants fit that bill perfectly.

Now the profitability problem is almost solved; all that is left is to re-integrate your corporations back into America, while keeping Americans so far down in the dumps that they cannot do anything about your actions or the government you have essentially put in place using the power of the media that you also control.

Of course legal Americans will now have to compete for these low-paying corporate jobs due to the overabundance of available labor (thanks to all the illegal immigrants in the U.S. labor market) and fewer jobs thanks to the work of the progressive-socialists and environmentalists who have killed millions of non-corporate jobs in America, which also forces the cost of labor down. And this is very good for the elitists running things while hiding behind ‘the curtain of government’. The result is just a modern version of Old World Europe, where the serfs worked for the Lords.

So if we simply follow the money, we clearly see the corporate logic in allowing the massive influx of illegal immigrants to continue, virtually unabated. As of this writing it is estimated that there are over 12-Million illegal immigrants living in the U.S.!

The response of Americans should be just as simple as the elitist tactics, and is defined and indicated within in the text of the United States Constitution.

Americans need to regain control of ‘their’ government and make the needed changes before it’s too late! Or not… instead, Americans can continue to succumb to these combined tactics, and just buy a case of beer or a bottle of wine, go home after working 4 days out of every week just to pay for the elitist agenda, take your meds and zone out on some sitcom that was carefully designed to make you feel better about your lousy situation.

If you want to learn more about how you are being manipulated by the elitists, here is some more interesting reading.

America is like a boat on tempestuous waters and needs to quickly find a safe port before it’s too late!

 

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

www.WilliameSimpson.com
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6505899/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper

CaptainBillFrequent contributor, Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, who has successfully survived long-term off the grid at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family using sailboats that he equipped for that purpose. Capt. Bill holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial inspected passenger vessels, including, power, sail and assistance towing vessels. He is also the author of many articles on sailing and the book ‘The Nautical Prepper’ (Ulysses Press) You can read more from the Nautical Prepper on Capt. Bill’s personal site at www.williamesimpson.com

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The Message of Prepping Is Hope, not Fearhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/09/message-prepping-is-hope-not-fear/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/09/message-prepping-is-hope-not-fear/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:59:03 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11541 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

I am always very happy to receive comments and questions on the Prepper Journal. Our readers come from such a diverse background of experiences, knowledge and perspective and the comments allow anyone to have a dialog about issues that are pertinent to their own unique circumstance and share prepping tips with others in our little […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

I am always very happy to receive comments and questions on the Prepper Journal. Our readers come from such a diverse background of experiences, knowledge and perspective and the comments allow anyone to have a dialog about issues that are pertinent to their own unique circumstance and share prepping tips with others in our little but growing community.

Some of the comments are responses to the post itself but often I receive questions from our readers too and I wanted to share one comment from a reader named Nicole because she has some great questions that I wanted to share with everyone.

Nicole writes:

As a city dweller, the more I read through these tips (which are great and very helpful) and the more I get a better understanding of the situation at hand, the larger my concerns become about being able to prep even the basics properly. The size of apartments for those in large metropolitan areas limit one’s storage options, especially when taking situational awareness and OPSEC/Gray Neighbor matters into consideration.

Where my goal was to one day be a homeowner and debt-free, it seems like now learning about the importance of prepping and all that goes with it has me realizing that I’m at a huge disadvantage on so many levels and may not likely, if ever, make it to the other side of my objectives…especially where being prepared is concerned. As it stands, I’m starting think that investing time and resources into acquiring more skills is one of the more attainable preps that are within reach more-so than others. I wonder if learning about gardening, herbal remedies and treating/gathering/filtering water may help to compensate for the lack of storage options available in the city…and of course, even those skills might only be useful to a certain extent.

One moment I’m hopeful and pumped to take actions toward increasing my chances of survival, and then the next moment, I’m thinking that I’m just doomed due to location and limited resources.

When Nicole sent this in I was already thinking about a post on a related topic. I read prepper blogs and survival websites daily because I am still learning myself and there are a ton of great resources for preppers out there. There was a recent post on a very popular prepping blog that was written on the subject of bugging out. The main focus of the article was essentially that if you don’t have a remote bug out location you are pretty much doomed. I am over simplifying for the sake of brevity here, but that is what I took away as the writer’s argument for all their advice. Now, not coincidentally, the writer has a business of providing information about survival retreats so the effect of making everyone believe they must have a bug out retreat as soon as possible was not (in my opinion) accidental and to be honest, there isn’t anything wrong with that.

However, this type of advice and some other methods of motivating people lead some to be discouraged. I think that in Nicole’s case she is looking at the information we who have prepping blogs put out there and she looks at her personal situation and it can seem overwhelming. The last thing we need to be doing as people who profess to want to get as many individuals prepared for life’s big surprises is scaring them so much they give up.

Two Is One and One is… Still Better than Nothing

If you have read even one article on prepping, you have most likely heard the term; two is one and one is none. If you are new to prepping and have not yet heard this, the cute saying is speaking to redundancy. Its meaning is that stuff happens; things break or malfunction or get lost. If you only have one of any item and that item is lost you could be up a creek. So, the wisdom is to be truly prepared you should have redundancy or more than one of just about anything.

This saying is a good way of illustrating the concept of redundancy but have we used it to the point of making everyone think that if they don’t have a backup they are hopelessly screwed? Look at the point of the bug out location above. The writer all but says if you don’t have a bug out location sooner or later you will regret it and I don’t believe that is the case. Could it be one potential outcome of many potential crisis’s or events in our future? Sure, but you can’t just say across the board that anyone who doesn’t have a cabin in the woods and 50 people to guard it is going to die. I think we need to change the message here.

Prepping is not something with a final goal of a single checklist of supplies that you can purchase, skills you can master and tactical training you can take. You won’t be able to get a degree in prepping and I believe that in one sense of the word, there are no expert preppers. There isn’t anyone who can say they are prepared for anything, anywhere at any time. Prepping is a way of living that can make pretty much anyone more prepared in thought and resources but it is not some goal to be achieved. Are there people that are more prepared than others? Of course, but each individual’s life makes a tremendous impact into what they can accomplish and painting with too broad of a brush can cause more harm than good.

Yoga pants don’t make you athletic

I bet I could list on one hand the number of people I personally know who have two homes or some extra land somewhere. None of those people are actually living in these ‘potential retreats’ of theirs and don’t plan on it. Does that mean that I and anyone else who doesn’t bug out to the woods are doomed? No. Does it mean that if like Nicole you are an apartment prepper that she can’t take steps to get prepared? Not at all and the person who wrote the article about the bug out location, with all due respect doesn’t know everything.

Let’s say we all did have that beautiful stocked cabin in the woods. Does that mean we would all be safe from any SHTF event? No because reality always gets a vote. Just like wearing an athletic outfit doesn’t ensure you are in good shape, simply having things doesn’t make you prepared. You can have the perfect survival weapons, loaded bug out bags, hidden caches of food and supplies and get hit by a car on the way out to your bug out retreat. Having stuff doesn’t make you prepared and the opposite is true also that people who do not have certain things will not surely die.

Don’t get overwhelmed – Keep your eyes on the goal

Here is my advice to Nicole and anyone else out there who just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Prepping is a lifestyle not a list you can necessarily check off that guarantees your success. You should be prepping because you want to live and believe that by your efforts you will be able to impact whether or not you do live. Just because you don’t have the bug out mansion in the woods of Montana, you can still take steps that could save lives. Just because you have limited storage doesn’t mean you can’t still stock up some items.

Use the knowledge you are learning to inform your decisions rather than get disappointed with where you are. I think it is great that you are taking proactive steps in the first place to learn and become as prepared as you can. This is an excellent step in the right direction and means that you already have a willingness to succeed. This mental attitude of yours is already so much more important than any preps you can purchase. I think learning new skills is a great way to get more prepared and you could in turn help others out in your area as well, but don’t just stop there. Continue making small steps forward even if you have to live in an apartment now. Try putting the skills you are learning into practice and growing some food, join a co-op and help that way by actually working to produce food. Don’t believe for a second that just because you can’t afford everything that is recommended you can’t make a huge difference or that your location means you are doomed.

The message if there is one of Prepping is hope for everyone because we hope to be able to survive. We hope to protect our families and we hope to thrive and make a difference in the lives of people we love. We prepare for bad things to happen, but we prepare because we have the hope that we will survive through those bad things whatever they may be. Keep trying and don’t give up and never believe for a second that you can’t do something if you don’t have X. There will always be something else to acquire, some shiny gadget to buy, but your spirit and mental strength are all that matter in the end.

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Household Survival – 15 Lifesaving Items You Probably Already Havehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/07/household-survival-15-lifesaving-items-probably-already/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/07/household-survival-15-lifesaving-items-probably-already/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:57:29 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11521 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Many of us who are new to prepping become wrapped up in the things we don’t have. We scour the internet looking for prepper checklists and there are millions out there. We look for ideas on the best handguns to purchase or the best firearms to have. We look at bug out vehicles and survival […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Many of us who are new to prepping become wrapped up in the things we don’t have. We scour the internet looking for prepper checklists and there are millions out there. We look for ideas on the best handguns to purchase or the best firearms to have. We look at bug out vehicles and survival bunkers and hidden retreats in the woods. It can be overwhelming.

I know a lot of preppers including me in the beginning focused on the things we felt we needed to get at the beginning. The sheer volume of ‘things’ that make up all these lists can seem insurmountable and you might even be wondering where to start.

How about starting in your own home first?

There are a lot of great household survival supplies that you as a prepper already have. I am not saying that you don’t need to look at other options for survival, but don’t overlook the obvious either. A true prepper isn’t defined necessarily by what they have, but more how they are prepared to deal with crisis and looking at the items you have on hand is one way to adjust your perception.

 

  1. Bleach – Bleach is great for a couple of things. First you can use it to disinfect surfaces because bleach will kill almost anything. Bleach could be used to sanitize your home should there be some infectious disease outbreak and it can also be used to disinfect water which could come in handy if for some reason the tap stops working and you have to get your water from alternate sources. For instance, if you have a lake or rain barrels for water collection you will want to disinfect that water before you drink it. Boiling is a better alternative, but bleach is great in a pinch. Bleach does have a shelf life though that I discuss in another post.
  2. Towels – Do you have old towels lying in a closet somewhere? We have a ton hidden in a box that we use for all types of odd jobs. When the car needs washing we break out the old towels. When the survival dog is wet from the rain, out come the towels. These old towels and rags have a use in a survival situation too. They can be stitched together to make blankets, they can be shoved in cracks to keep drafts out; they can be ripped up to make diapers or bandages or fire starter. You can wrap them around hot pot handles to save your hands too.
  3. Dental Floss – Dental floss makes great fishing line or emergency rope although you would need a lot of it to make rope and that is assuming you don’t have that wimpy wax tape they are selling now. Floss can be used to suture a wound, as your noose in a small game snare or as fishing line. I like to use it to keep my teeth clean and I have some stocked for that purpose and I’ll use the inner cords from my paracord for the other uses.
  4. Feminine hygiene products – What? Well you might be thinking these are necessary for one thing but think outside of the box. These products are great for stopping blood so in an emergency situation, they can save someone from bleeding to death. Tampons can be used to plug bullet wounds and maxi-pads make great pressure bandages. What about those make up remover pads? They make great tinder for starting fires. You can actually soak them in paraffin wax and they will make starting fires a breeze so they are a good addition to your bug out bag. Check out this video for instructions.
  5. Duct Tape – If you don’t have at least one roll of duct tape in your home right now, I am pretty sure you are violating a natural law of some type. Duct tape is incredibly useful from making repairs on clothing or survival gear, patching holes, protecting your feet from blisters and generally being awesome. All duct tape isn’t made equal though and I recommend something like Gorilla tape which is much stronger than traditional duct tape. For a bug out bag tip I don’t carry a whole roll. I take a plastic card like a hotel key or old credit card and wrap about 20 feet of duct tape around the card. This way I have plenty of duct tape if I need it but do not have all the weight or space a whole roll takes up. You can even use it to make a sling!
  6. Garden hose has more uses even if it has a hole.

    Garden hose has more uses even if it has a hole.

    Garden Hose – Garden hose can be used to do what it normally does and that is transport water from one location to another. You can also use this as a siphon to get gas out of vehicles or storage tanks. You can also cut the hose and use it to protect your hands when you are dealing with wire. Just cut some of the hose off, slice it down one side and slide the wire in. You can use the garden hose to set up a makeshift shower with a bucket of water hung in a tree and gravity. Let a large bucket of water sit in the sun for a few hours until it gets warm. Set the hose in the bucket and get the water flowing much as you would in siphoning gas and you have a way to hose off with warm water.

  7. Tools and Lumber – Hand tools will most likely be needed as I don’t want to use my gas to recharge electric tools. A hammer, some nails and heavy duty plywood can be used to seal openings and make your home more secure from intruders. Nailing windows shut can slow access and repairs to all manner of items is easier with tools. You can also use box cutters and even lawn mower blades as defensive weapons.
  8. Cooking Oil – So what do you do with oil when you are all out of fish sticks and French fries? Make an oil lantern with it. That’s right, oil burns so if you have a power blackout and you are fresh out of candles, you can use oil and a glass jar or small empty can to create a source of light in your home. Make sure you are careful though because any open flame can cause you more problems than it solves. This video from the Shepherd School demonstrates how to make a survival oil lamp.
  9. Kitchen Knives – Every kitchen in America must have that block of knives sitting on the counter that we got as a housewarming gift. Just because you don’t have an expensive EDC knife on you doesn’t mean you have to forgo the advantages that knives offer. A good kitchen knife will cut just as well as most of the tactical knife blades out there and in a pinch would be better than nothing. If you want to carry a knife you can make a sheath for it out of plastic or cardboard and duct tape. Wrap a long piece of paracord around the handle to make the grip better and you have your caveman survival knife.
  10. Survival Oil Lamp

    Survival Oil Lamp

    Tea Bags – Tea Bags are not only good for a beverage (as long as you have sugar or honey IMHO) but they are also a great homeopathic addition to your medical kit. Tea leaves contain tannins which are a natural anti-inflammatory. Some people will use wet tea bags to reduce bags under their eyes and you can use this for lots of other uses like bee stings, hemorrhoids, boils (not in that order obviously).

  11. Toilet Paper – If there is one prepper item that I have seen people obsess over more than anything it is toilet paper. What will you do when the roll is all gone? I am thinking there are far bigger problems in the world if you can’t buy toilet paper anymore, but let’s say you have an abundance of the fluffy white stuff and are looking for other uses. You can twist toilet paper into a wick for a toilet paper wick heater, or your oil lamp or use it to start fires, apply medicine or write notes on it.
  12. Canned Food – Once you are done with the contents of your canned food you can use them as containers. You can build that oil lamp I mentioned above. You can also use them to cook with over a fire and when they are all done, you can string empty cans together to make a hobo alarm system. Don’t worry if the disaster left you a ton of cans but no way to open them, because you can easily open a can without a can opener.
  13. Potato Chips – Believe it or not you can use potato chips to start a fire. That is because they have so much fat and oil in them. I will add that this would be a really silly way to start a fire because you are using food to make a fire when that should be unnecessary in all but the most extreme circumstances. Maybe you are trapped in a Lay’s warehouse or something and need a fire to keep warm. I added this just for kicks but you should know how to start a fire using tinder and not food. It is possible though.
  14. Fire Extinguisher – Not only can this be used to put out fires, you can also use this as a defensive weapon. Granted, I don’t ever want to be that close to the bad guy; I’d prefer to be shooting distance away, but in a pinch you can use a fire extinguisher to blind someone. Spray them hard in the face and while they are blinded, crack them over the head with the fire extinguisher.
  15. Garbage Bags – I don’t know how many uses garbage bags have but they are really just plastic sheeting that has been folded and welded together. We look at these as our go-to option for taking out the trash but they can also double as rain gear. Just cut a hole for the head and one for each arm and you are all set. You can use them as a water barrier if you have to sleep on the ground. You can also use them to keep the rain off your head by cutting them down the sides to make the bag footprint larger. These can also be used to black out your windows if something happens and you don’t want your neighbors looking inside at your oil lamp. Garbage bags and duct tape go a long way.

What items do you have in your house that could have other uses?

 

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Expatriates: Book Reviewhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/06/expatriates-review/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/06/expatriates-review/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:06:52 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11503 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

It should go without saying that James Wesley Rawles has had a significant impact on the prepper and survivalist community. His daily blog www.survivalblog.com draws over 84 thousand unique views each month from the US alone and the years of information contained in its pages have informed millions. In addition to his blog, Mr. Rawles […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

It should go without saying that James Wesley Rawles has had a significant impact on the prepper and survivalist community. His daily blog www.survivalblog.com draws over 84 thousand unique views each month from the US alone and the years of information contained in its pages have informed millions. In addition to his blog, Mr. Rawles is a busy speaker sharing his knowledge and experience as a former Army Intelligence officer at prepper conferences all over the US as well as a writer. He has written 5 books already and another title is in the works.

One of the very first books I read as I started getting into what has now been labeled as prepping was How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. This book helped me foundationally start to look at some of the problems I was identifying in the world and how to plan to survive. Shortly after I read this book, I purchased Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse. I am not a fast reader by any stretch because my reading time is almost exclusively reserved for when I am ready for bed and want to get a chapter or two in before I crash.

Patriots was such an excellent book, and I just so happened to be on vacation that I finished it in a couple of days; in between seeing family and eating too much. I was so enthralled with the story of the Grays and their survival group in Idaho. I learned so much from this book and it captivated me with the portrayal of an economic collapse and the fallout from that event in the US. I have since reread it because in the realm of prepping this is great fiction right up there with Alas Babylon and One Second After.

ExpatriatesI was approached by the publisher of Mr. Rawles latest novel Expatriates a few weeks ago to see if I was interested in reviewing this book as well so naturally I took them up on it and I just finished last night.

Expatriates, along with two other books, Survivors and Founders aren’t continuations of his original novel Patriots. All of the books in this series are told contemporaneously as Mr. Rawles explained in his interview we were fortunate enough to have with him back in September on the Prepper Journal.

Expatriates

It is hard for me to separate this book from Patriots or Survivors since they are all about an economic collapse called “the crunch” but this novel is set in Australia and the Philippines primarily. There are a lot of characters and the story shows how several sets of people deal with the changing realities of life where the formal US government has been dissolved. If you are interested in reading about surviving on a boat or Nautical Survival as my friend Capt. Bill prescribes, this book will offer you a lot of interesting scenarios.

Expatriates paints a different picture of a collapse than I have been considering but it is one that is probably more likely. Instead of something as dramatic and instantaneous as ‘collapse’ sounds, there is more of a slow slide into a different reality. The food isn’t gone the first day, people can still purchase fuel for a time and life goes on for years. His timeline approach for each of the areas allows his characters to live out the problems Mr. Rawles must envision if a similar future visits our shores.

The story is full of a lot of details about elements in the story unique to the location. From weapon specifications to mining operations and local customs, Expatriates weaves a story that tries to immerse the reader in the lives of each of the characters and finishes with a major confrontation and a satisfying ending. If you like prepper fiction then I am sure you will like Expatriates. Now that I finished this latest book, I want to go back and read Patriots again, but I have too many other books on my nightstand.

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Disinfection: From Treating Water with Bleach to Killing Ebolahttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/04/treating-water-with-bleach-killing-ebola/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/04/treating-water-with-bleach-killing-ebola/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 21:41:27 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11487 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Access to clean water means the difference between life and death in any part of the world. In order to disinfect water preppers usually recommend bleach as part of a broader strategy of stored water, filtration and boiling. Household bleach, as long as it isn’t scented is a great method to disinfect water to make […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Access to clean water means the difference between life and death in any part of the world. In order to disinfect water preppers usually recommend bleach as part of a broader strategy of stored water, filtration and boiling. Household bleach, as long as it isn’t scented is a great method to disinfect water to make is safe for drinking so some people stock up on bleach for just this reason. There is a problem with bleach though in that it has a relatively short shelf life. Bleach will start to lose its potency before a year and that amount of time can be hastened in high heat or freezing conditions.

When asked the question if bleach has a shelf life of one year, the Clorox website states:

The overall answer is yes, but there are a couple of possible caveats. The active ingredient in liquid bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is very sensitive to high heat and freezing, but under normal home storage conditions, it should still perform well for nine to twelve months. So if your storage conditions were either of these, then you will have irreversibly created salt and water.

Calcium Hypochlorite can be used to make your own bleach. When mixed together though you have this shelf life and that is never good when we are thinking of long term prepping plans. There is a simple alternative though and that it to purchase Calcium Hypochlorite and make bleach as you need it. Calcium Hypochlorite has a shelf life of 10 years if stored in a cool dry place.

Calcium Hypochlorite comes as a stand-alone powder or you can purchase bags of pool shock. The price of pool shock has risen a pretty good bit over the years, but you can easily find a 1 pound bag of pool shock for $9. One thing to be aware of is the main ingredient. Some pool shock says Chlorine free and use other chemicals. You don’t want that. Also, you don’t want any other ingredients like anti-fungals or algaecide so read the label carefully. Alternately, you could just purchase the Calcium Hypochlorite powder and eliminate this possibility. A one pound bag of pool shock that is 68% Calcium Hypochlorite can make 10,000 gallons disinfected water.

Along with the capacity to create bleach that can be used as a long term stable source of treating your water,  bleach is also very effective at killing viruses. We use this to kill viruses in our water and it is just as effective at killing Ebola so a plan for storing Calcium Hypochlorite is wise on two counts.

Ebola and Bleach

A reader Matt sent this link to a Public Health Agency of Canada article on Ebola and in the section under Section IV Stability and Viability it mentions the following:

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: Ebolavirus is susceptible to 3% acetic acid, 1% glutaraldehyde, alcohol-based products, and dilutions (1:10-1:100 for ≥10 minutes) of 5.25% household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), and calcium hypochlorite (bleach powder). The WHO recommendations for cleaning up spills of blood or body fluids suggest flooding the area with a 1:10 dilutions of 5.25% household bleach for 10 minutes for surfaces that can tolerate stronger bleach solutions (e.g., cement, metal) . For surfaces that may corrode or discolor, they recommend careful cleaning to remove visible stains followed by contact with a 1:100 dilution of 5.25% household bleach for more than 10 minutes.”

Essentially bleach kills Ebola and if you need to clean up any spills or body fluids a higher concentration of bleach should be used. Prepping for virus outbreaks might have seemed crazy just a few weeks ago but now the information in the news makes this more possible and if you are already prepared to make your own bleach by having a stable supply of Calcium Hypochlorite, you will additionally be prepared to disinfect Ebola and potentially save lives. I am not going to suggest having bleach will save anyone, but it can help.

A worker disinfects a deceased Ebola patient.

A worker disinfects a deceased Ebola patient.

How to make bleach

The Calcium Hypochlorite powder is used in two strengths according to what you need to disinfect. The 1:10 bleach solution is a strong solution used to disinfect bodies and fluids. A lighter mixture of 1 to 100 is used to disinfect water or to clean surfaces, medical equipment, bedding, protective equipment like gloves and clothing.

You use the 1:10 solution to make the 1:100 solutions. The 1:10 bleach is very caustic so you want to be very careful handling this.

In terms of Ebola disinfection, a publication from the World Health Organization says that Bleach solutions must be prepared daily because they lose their strength after 24 hours.

To prepare the bleach solution you would use one heaping tablespoon of Calcium Hypochlorite for every two gallons of water. This will give you bleach essentially and would be your 1:10 mixture for hard core disinfection. DO NOT DRINK THIS

To dilute this to your 1:100 mixture you could add your gallon of bleach (1:10) above to 100 gallons of water, but this isn’t practical usually.

To disinfect water you would add eight drops of your 1:10 bleach solution to one gallon of water. Let this sit for 30 minutes. If the water is still cloudy you can run this through a coffee filter (should have done this first) or add more bleach a couple of drops at a time and let it sit for 30 more minutes.

Some additional sources of information are:

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Four Ways to Increase your Survival Endurancehttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/03/four-ways-increase-survival-endurance/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/03/four-ways-increase-survival-endurance/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 20:05:04 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11475 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

News of the recent Ebola case in Texas has a lot of people on edge. You may have felt the urgency yourself as you read the news and monitor the progress being made, or not made in controlling this virus. Events like this are what preppers for years have been planning for and if you […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

News of the recent Ebola case in Texas has a lot of people on edge. You may have felt the urgency yourself as you read the news and monitor the progress being made, or not made in controlling this virus. Events like this are what preppers for years have been planning for and if you are new to prepping you may fear that you are behind the eight ball at a crucial time.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone should be panicked about the events in West Africa or Texas, but I do think they are something to pay attention to. On the other hand, I don’t recommend doing nothing if you have serious holes in your preps. Events like the Ebola outbreak do two things. The first is that they motivate preppers again and they bring new people into our sphere of influence as more people try to learn all they can, search for prepping checklists, or research how to find the right bug out bag and so much more. The second thing that something like this latest Ebola news does is remind us that there are real threats out there in the world. Ebola is a virus that kills people. Viruses can spread to other people so it stands to reason more people can die or will die from Ebola. This isn’t science fiction or conspiracy, it’s just a fact that the people in Africa at least are living on a daily basis.

But regardless of whether you are just now getting into prepping or you have been prepping for years, there is more to survival than having a stocked pantry, bountiful garden, or a well with a hand water pump on your property. Simply having supplies isn’t the true yardstick you need to be comparing yourself to if you realistically want to know how prepared you are for this or any other crisis that may happen. Supplies can be taken away, they can be flung across the county or washed down the river. What matters most of all is your mental capacity to see you through difficulty. Your will to live and survive no matter what the odds will do more for you than any survival knife. Your determination and confidence that you will succeed will be more valuable than a box of MRE’s or freeze dried food.

Without being trained in survival though, how can the average person get this type of mindset? Do you need to have survived through a big earthquake or tsunami in order to have what it takes? Should you sign up for intensive wilderness immersion courses that teach you the things you need to know? Possibly and I am not discounting any training like that, but the average person can increase their survival endurance skills by much simpler means. Some people are born with the will to survive and other people need some practice.

Pull the plug

Have you ever imagined what your day would be like without electricity? If you have lived through any power disruption you know. Out of habit, I will flip on light switches and nothing happens. I will press buttons, open doors to use appliances and it takes a second to realize that nothing is working in each instance. I still go to the wrong silverware drawer in our kitchen even though my wife changed that years ago so maybe its just me. Dealing without power or electronic devices is a huge hurdle for some people to overcome. In a life or death situation, the absence of power is disorientating so what can you do now to develop experience in living without the convenience we are all so used to?

You could go a weekend without power and this is frequently recommended. Simply flip the main breaker on Friday night and put all of the cell phones, tablets and e-readers in the closet. Bonus points for shutting off the water also.

This exercise will allow you to adapt to living without electricity as you see how to light your way, possibly use stored water or perhaps go and get water to live on, cook and bathe for the weekend. For a lot of people this is a huge eye opener that can highlight holes in their preparedness plan.

Practice makes perfect

Is your plan to bug out to the woods if Ebola breaks out or some other form of societal collapse? Have you meticulously gathered the contents of your Bug Out Bag and have it ready to go in the back of your car? Have you ever put it on and walked 20 miles through the woods or even down the road with it on your back? Have you tried to live for 72 hours off the supplies in your Bug Out bag to see if you have the right equipment and more importantly the experience with what works and what doesn’t. Another aspect of prepping is the knowledge and experience of what to do with these supplies you have stored. You don’t want your first experience building and lighting a fire with your Swedish fire steel to be when it is raining, dark and you are scared. Your ability to safely collect and filter water will give you confidence. The ability to navigate without the benefit of roads or GPS possibly will also give you invaluable exposure to the aspects of your plan that could fail.

Activities like backpacking are the perfect test scenario for bugging out. You strap that behemoth you have been building for months with all of the gear you have read about on bug out bag checklists and see what it’s like living in the woods for 3 days. There will be so much you learn about both your physical ability, the weight and utility of your bug out bag as well as whether or not the items you have worked or were necessary in the first place. After my first backpacking adventure with my family, I knew that I needed to drop at least 20 pounds from my pack if I had any hope of running through the night away from disaster in it.

Challenge yourself in small but important ways.

Challenge yourself in small but important ways.

Develop a can-do attitude

One of the main elements of survival is the belief that you will make it through; that you can overcome whatever obstacles you face. This is not something that comes naturally to everyone so it helps to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and see how you fare. Just take something as relatively simple as being too hot or too cold. When winter comes do you run inside the second you get cold? This is probably because you aren’t dressed for the weather. What if you couldn’t go inside? Would you sit there, shivering and complaining?

In a disaster, expect things to be uncomfortable. Expect to suffer a little bit and try this out when you are perfectly safe. Stay outside in inclement weather all day and do physical things. You will learn that you won’t die and that you can make it through situations where you’d rather be back indoors. Spend the night out in the woods by yourself, set up your tent, build a fire and think big things. You learn that you aren’t helpless and that you can do things for yourself. Even if you already have a healthy dose of this experiences like this build your endurance. They mentally reinforce you will the knowledge that you can do things on your own.

Train to build up your body strength

Nobody ever said survival was easy. You could expect to be hungry, tired and to work more than you do on any normal day. To have the best chance at survival you need to be in excellent physical shape. Does that mean you need to be carved up like one of the models on the fitness magazines? Not at all, but you do need to be able to carry yourself around all day without pain or discomfort regardless of your age. Can you walk around all day, possibly with a pack or do you have a hundred pounds or so to lose? Can you pick yourself off the ground when you fall? If not, how do you expect to survive out in the wilderness with that bug out bag that’s too heavy on your back? Some people want to give up rather than put the effort into survival but even if you have every prepping supply in the world, you have to be in shape.

Get in shape now or suffer later.

Get in shape now or suffer later.

Everyone who doesn’t have a physical handicap can get in better shape for $0. If you are overweight, start off walking. Walking is a great exercise that is free, doesn’t require a membership and you don’t need fancy clothes or equipment for it. Start off slow and build your way up. Maybe you could even begin running one day. Personally I think everyone who is seriously considering any bug out on foot scenario should be able to run 2 miles without stopping. Can you run at all? Can you run with your bug out bag?

Mastering your own body strength is something that anyone can do with time and will give you a huge amount of endurance. If you can walk all day without stopping, run a few miles three times a week, knock out a few dozen push ups and sit-ups daily you will be in so much better shape than the person who watches TV for 4 hours or sits in front of that computer all day. Strength will keep you healthy, it will prevent injuries and will help you last longer, go the extra mile when you might need to in order to save your life.

I wrote recently about the will to live and I believe that is at the heart of every prepper out there. I know it is my goal and I want to take as many people along with me as possible. Do you have what it takes to endure?

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Is An Ebola Epidemic Inevitable In America?http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/02/ebola-epidemic-inevitable-america/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/02/ebola-epidemic-inevitable-america/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 12:32:42 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11453 Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

What Can Citizens Do To Protect Themselves? With each successive day since the man (Thomas Eric Duncan) who flew from Liberia to Texas was diagnosed with the first case of the Ebola virus in the U.S., more and more unsettling facts are starting to emerge. As we are seeing, Americans are the ‘last to know’ […]

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Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

What Can Citizens Do To Protect Themselves?

With each successive day since the man (Thomas Eric Duncan) who flew from Liberia to Texas was diagnosed with the first case of the Ebola virus in the U.S., more and more unsettling facts are starting to emerge. As we are seeing, Americans are the ‘last to know’ when it comes to our safety.

It turns out that Mr. Duncan actually reached U.S. soil via two separate United Airlines flights. Why is this important? Do we all need one of those yellow suits?

The CDC and other related agencies are desperately trying to calm the American public as the stock market started to tank yesterday. And part of their strategy is trying to downplay the ease of transmission of this deadly disease, which kills approximately 60-70% of victims who are not treated by the most advanced medical treatments, which as anyone knows is available on a very, very limited basis! That means that if thousands of Americans are suddenly infected, there won’t be the same results we are seeing with the few cases being touted by the CDC… they just don’t have the facilities or trained personnel to deal with an onslaught of Ebola cases here in America.

And keep this in mind as you listen to the re-assurances of the CDC spokespeople:

All of the missionaries and doctors who were infected with Ebola Virus and who returned to the U.S. from Africa for treatment were trained specialists and who had a medical understanding of exactly how the disease is transmitted; yet they still contracted this deadly disease! If they got sick, knowing what they knew, how much more vulnerable is the average person?

The bottom line is this virus is easily transmitted via bodily fluids… this means that if someone who is carrying the virus, who may even be asymptomatic, sneezes or coughs in a confined airspace, that aerosol of bodily fluids can potentially introduce the virus into the respiratory systems of nearby people, thereby potentially infecting them.

Further, if an infected carrier has any bodily fluids on their hands, and uses any fixtures in a restroom or touches any surface that is subsequently handled by other uninfected individuals within a few minutes, those uninfected individuals who have touched one of the those surfaces and then touches their eye or any tissues inside their nose or mouth, are also subject to potential infection!

As we begin to see, if we have 200-250 people on a jet with an infected individual who has used the restroom (sink, toilet, etc.) there is the potential to infect many people on that flight, who may subsequently in turn spread the disease during their travels.

So the new disclosure as to Mr. Duncan’s travels seems to infer that many people could have been potentially infected. So where are all these people now?

Ebola is transmitted through body fluids. Isolation may be necessary if the virus spreads.

Ebola is transmitted through body fluids. Isolation may be necessary if the virus spreads.

 

Making matters even worse, the Texas hospital that first saw Mr. Duncan sent him back home after initially misdiagnosing his illness as a flu-like illness! Of course during the period that he waited to be seen in the waiting room, he may have infected others in that room; and if he used the restroom, there may have been further exposures stemming from there, and so on… remember, this disease spreads exponentially!

So as the CDC tries to calm the public, this insidious and deadly disease may already have a significant start in our country.

My advice to Americans is to prepare, and do it now! It’s too late to prepare if there is an epidemic! How, you may ask?

Here is the advice that I am giving my own friends and family:

 

1. As we have already witnessed, we cannot depend on the CDC or the U.S. Government to contain this disease (or even give us the facts up-front without delay), so their quarantine measures may also be unreliable. Look at where we are today! They let at least Duncan easily come into the U.S.; how many others may have also made their way here into the U.S. and make be actively ill and yet to be discovered. The first stages of the disease resemble a flu and even fooled the doctors at the Texas hospital! And with the upcoming Flu season, the Ebola virus would have plenty of camouflage if begins to spread!

So we can only rely upon ourselves; if you are unsure if an epidemic is happening in your neighborhood (a sudden rash of people with the ‘flu’), it may be smart to isolate yourself and your family until you are doubly sure you are safe. Make sure you have a basic battery-powered radio receiver to monitor the news.

 

It is also possible that if an epidemic should occur, the Government itself may order martial law and require that everyone stay in their homes (means you cannot go outside for supplies). In order to comply with such an order, or to make use of the effective tactic of isolating yourself and your family, you will need supplies! Make sure you have enough water, food, clothing, medicines, fuel and any other must-have items to last at least a month. And keep 72 hours of these kinds of supplies in your vehicle or Bug-Out-Bag in case you have to evacuate an area fast.

 

2. Make sure you have plenty of face masks with at least an N95 rating. I would also make sure you have a box or two of nitrile-rubber surgical gloves in a couple sizes to accommodate the people in your family or group.

3. Make sure you have some spray bottles and a gallon of chlorine bleach. You can make a 20% solution of chlorine bleach mixed with water as a disinfectant (it will kill the virus that it contacts… do not use this on people or pets). You can use this disinfectant as needed; such as spraying on the soles of your shoes, contaminated surfaces, etc.

4. Maintain a careful awareness of the items that you bring into your home. For instance; any chilled item that is contaminated with the bodily fluids of an infected person (sneezes-coughs on some packaged goods that are in a cooler, etc.) will remain a potential source of infection longer than something that is exposed to the sun, or even a surface that is dry and at room temperature. Wash fruits and vegetables very carefully and completely before serving or consuming same.

5. Personal hygiene needs to be significantly enhanced: Buy quality soap and use it to wash your hands anytime you are exposed to any surface that may be contaminated. Pay particular attention to avoiding touching your face with your hands unless they have been thoroughly washed. The eyes, nose and mouth (as well as any open wound) are pathways for viruses and bacteria to enter the body.

The best possible protection is by far obtained by isolation and avoiding anyone who may be possibly infected. This is not easy and requires planning and discipline. If you are fortunate enough to be in an area that is not immediately involved in an outbreak, then you may have time to secure some form of isolation. For those people who have taken to the concept of ‘Nautical Prepping’ this process is actually quite simple as outlined in my book on that subject.

The way this situation is progressing so far, we’ll be lucky if we don’t have some form of epidemic in the U.S.   Here again… pray for the best outcome, while preparing for the worst.

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

www.WilliameSimpson.com
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6505899/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper

CaptainBillFrequent contributor, Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, who has successfully survived long-term off the grid at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family using sailboats that he equipped for that purpose. Capt. Bill holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial inspected passenger vessels, including, power, sail and assistance towing vessels. He is also the author of many articles on sailing and the book ‘The Nautical Prepper’ (Ulysses Press) You can read more from the Nautical Prepper on Capt. Bill’s personal site at www.williamesimpson.com

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First Ebola Case Diagnosed On U.S. Soilhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/01/first-ebola-case-diagnosed-u-s-soil/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/01/first-ebola-case-diagnosed-u-s-soil/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:38:00 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11437 Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

President Obama’s America The current administration’s policies are starting to reap some grim results! The quote on the Statue of Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”… Emma Lazarus Obama’s lawlessness and out-of-control policies, especially his ‘open border’ policy may be the end of America as we […]

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Written by Capt. William E. Simpson on The Prepper Journal.

President Obama’s America

The current administration’s policies are starting to reap some grim results!

The quote on the Statue of Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”… Emma Lazarus

Obama’s lawlessness and out-of-control policies, especially his ‘open border’ policy may be the end of America as we all knew it?

Under Obama’s watch, maybe the quote on the Statue of Liberty should say: ‘Bring me your criminals, your diseases and your failed politics’?

Today’s national news (9-30-14) carried the story of a Texas man who flew from Liberia to Texas. It seems that he was in the general population (used the restroom on the airplane, etc.) during his travels and arrival into Texas. Allegedly, several days after arriving home in Texas, he became ill and was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus

They (CDC, etc) say it’s not as contagious as things like the flu, and it spreads from bodily fluids, which tends to downplay the threat. Of course saliva is such a fluid, as is the mucus from a person’s lung… and these fluids can be transmitted mechanically through direct contamination on bathroom surfaces, or if someone coughs or sneezes in your face and you inhale those small particles of bodily fluids.

The CDC estimates there may be as many as 1.4 million cases of Ebola in Africa by this January… that’s in 90 days! The worst-case scenarios may actually be a middle of the road projection simply because the CDC cannot fully comprehend the entirety of the situation… people who are carrying the disease are leaving Africa by plane and rail, and will, like the man in Texas, be arriving in other countries with the virus blooming.

-

OK folks, this is no joke, and given the less than forthcoming nature of the current administration (“You can keep your doctor, etc.”… Obama), it may be reasonable to take their level of confidence as to containment of the deadly disease with a grain of salt. Of course we do know that; if we were in deep manure, they certainly wouldn’t be saying so, as this would cause uncontrollable panic by the public… after all… what disease causes you to hemorrhage from every orifice on your body?

OK, some people may say: What about the doctors who became infected that who were treated in the U.S. and cured? Sure they were cured; but they were treated in ‘containment’ within a special ‘B.L. 4’ intensive care hospital treatment center… that means; special containment room with round the clock care by special nurses and doctors trained in rare contagious diseases…

So if we did suffer an outbreak here in the U.S., and we had only as many cases as Africa has now (about 5,000-10,000 cases) how many such BL4 facilities do you suppose there are in the U.S. to treat the sick? The simple answer is not nearly enough! We have just a handful… As it stands today, B.L. 4 level treatment centers are very far and few between.

In fact, the total number of normal ICU (no special containment systems; not set-up to handle diseases like EBOLA) beds across the entire United States is only about 100,000 beds

So what the heck do you do when 200,000 people become ill with a deadly, highly contagious disease? How many people have seen the movie ‘Outbreak’? It’s uncanny how throughout history, science fiction becomes science fact with some time…

It’s not my intent to frighten people with this information;… but, anyway you look at this reality… it’s unsettling and a measure of preparedness seems to be prudent now. Looking at the rate of spread in Africa, this is no joke, and now that it’s here, people who want to mitigate their risks need to be ready!

First confirmed case of Ebola in Texas

First confirmed case of Ebola in Texas

The only choice we have, average folks like you and me, who aren’t ‘special’ enough to be flown to a BL4 medical unit for special 24/7 care, is to take the right steps now to protect ourselves from infection. Of course the very few existing BL4 treatment centers would be handling the elite few who became ill in any event. And I wouldn’t bet on Obama-Care getting you any leverage in getting treatment.

The best solution for everyday people is to avoid being infected, and the number one method to avoid contagion is to avoid exposure to anyone who may be contagious. This is not as easy as it sounds. People can be in the very first stages of the illness and still be walking around (Ebola incubation period can be as little as 3-days or as long as 3-weeks)… it’s not like in the movies where you just start bleeding out of your eyes and ears… etc. I have read that the first stages are like a bad flu… and we all know people who have been at work with the damn flu, making the rest of us sick too… I fear this could happen here in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The key is to be a good ‘Prepper’ and have your disaster preparedness plans well in hand! That means having enough food, water, supplies, fuel (for heating and electrical), clothing, medicines, etc. stocked and set aside now. What’s enough? That’s hard to say… if there were an outbreak in a local community, you may have to stay isolated for many weeks, possibly months, until all of the cases have cleared. In the event of a national epidemic, as we have seen with the annual flu, Ebola could cross the U.S. coast to coast. And the best protection you can get is isolation from anyone who may be carrying the virus.

The combination of the upcoming seasonal flu with the spread of Ebola will make it very difficult for medical professionals this fall and winter, and may mask its presence and spread to some degree, especially if we have a bad Flu season. It will be even harder for average citizens to decipher the difference between a serious flu and the more sinister Ebola virus.

Stay tuned… I intend to get into some more details on how to protect yourself and your family. We should all pray for the best outcome, while we prepare for the worst.

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

www.WilliameSimpson.com
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6505899/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper

CaptainBillFrequent contributor, Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, who has successfully survived long-term off the grid at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family using sailboats that he equipped for that purpose. Capt. Bill holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial inspected passenger vessels, including, power, sail and assistance towing vessels. He is also the author of many articles on sailing and the book ‘The Nautical Prepper’ (Ulysses Press) You can read more from the Nautical Prepper on Capt. Bill’s personal site at www.williamesimpson.com

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How to Build a Get Home Baghttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/09/30/build-get-home-bag/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/09/30/build-get-home-bag/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:29:57 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11420 Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

A term you will hear frequently on Prepping and Survival websites is a Get Home Bag. You could also hear this called by other names (Get Me Home, Get Back) and they are all pretty much the same thing. Today we are going to discuss why a Get Home Bag is so important and something […]

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

A term you will hear frequently on Prepping and Survival websites is a Get Home Bag. You could also hear this called by other names (Get Me Home, Get Back) and they are all pretty much the same thing. Today we are going to discuss why a Get Home Bag is so important and something you should consider having if you are like most people and have to commute away from home every day for work. A Get Home Bag is similar to your Bug Out Bag but they have different purposes and what you need to put into your Get Home Bag will be different.

What is a Get Home Bag?

A get home bag is simply a bag of supplies you can use if you are forced to walk back home after some disaster or crisis. The assumption is that for whatever reason you are away from home, possibly far away and you can’t simply call AAA or a cab to come and get you. There could be several levels of Get Home Bag and I will discuss those below depending on how far away from home you are which could determine how long it will take you to get back home.

I used to have a job for a short time that had an 86 mile (one way!) commute. It was an opportunity that was too good to pass up but thankfully I found another position much closer to home. Every day I would jump in my car and set out on the highway for an hour and a half drive. Naturally, I never really imagined anything would prevent me from driving back home at the end of the day, but if some disaster struck while I was away, 86 miles would be a pretty long haul on foot.

When I worked that job I didn’t have any supplies with me except an iPod probably. I don’t even think I had water in my car. If something had happened, I would have been in trouble if I had to rely on what I had on hand and a Get Home Bag is the answer to that problem. You don’t have to work 86 miles away from home to need a Get Home Bag because the important supplies you have in there could save your life even much closer to home.

Maxpedition makes excellent bags.

Maxpedition makes excellent bags.

Is a Get Home Bag even necessary?

You may be thinking ‘Hey, I don’t work 86 miles away from home’ so why would I need a Get Home Bag and I will concede that in some cases, the distance you are traveling away from home will dictate what you might need to make it home in the first place. Let’s say there is a disaster and you are only 5 miles away or closer from home. You could probably crawl home if you needed in a day. Assuming you didn’t live in an insect infected swamp, the dessert or in a war zone, you might not need a get home bag.

But there doesn’t really have to be a disaster for a get home bag to help you out. Winter storms are a natural occurrence. Last year, there was a huge traffic snarl in Atlanta when a relatively minor amount of snow and ice shut the city down over night. Your Get home bag could give you the supplies you needed to make it home or just as easily make your overnight stay more comfortable.

Get Home bags don’t have to see the end of the world as we know it. There could be earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, landslides, winter storms and on and on. Just having this backup could come in handy.

Your Get Home Bag packing list

So enough about the purpose of a get home bag, what do you pack in there? I think that we could logically break this down into different tiers or levels for how long the get home bag would need to be called into service to get you home. There will be seasonally adjusted items but I will call those out on the list below.

Assuming the average uninjured adult walks approximately 3 miles per hour we will have three tiers below for distances of 3 to 90 miles. As with everything else in prepping your needs and situation as well as the actual disaster will have an effect on what you will need to use and how your preps would be different. This is just a general guideline but should be enough for the average person in average conditions.

Tier 1 – 1 – 3 Hours away

If you had to walk back home for 3 hours that could mean that you work approximately 9 miles away from home. This is very similar to my commute now and unless meteors hit the ground or we were bombed by someone, I think all things being equal I would be home in a relatively short time. Anything I pack is going to help me along my journey but does not anticipate an overnight stay. I would add some items just in case because I like to be prepared for surprises.

  • A good folding knife – This should be common sense. A knife and actually the first 6 items on this list are part of my Every Day Carry (EDC) so technically I have them wherever I go. I carry the Spyderco Tenacious.
  • Multi-Tool – From pliers to a small saw, there are a surprising number of things you can do with a good multi-tool.
  • BandannaBandanas make a great filter for the first stage of water, a dust mask, bandage, and sling or if you plan on robbing a bank you will be in style. Just kidding on that last part.
  • Flashlight/headlight – I have a flashlight on my belt and a headlamp in my Get Home Bag. You can’t beat a headlamp at night when you need to have both hands free.
  • Water bottle – Ideally a stainless steel water bottle which can be used over a fire to boil water. Even if you don’t have a stainless steel version, something to carry water in.
  • Concealed Carry Weapon – Never leave home without it.
  • Comfortable/Sturdy footwear – I have written about the importance of good footwear before. You don’t want the S to hit the fan and you are in flip flops.
  • Rain gear – Always plan for rain because you do not want to be soaking wet without a chance of drying off. Hypothermia will sap your energy and could kill you at even moderately warm temperatures. An umbrella isn’t a good option because it will require you to hold it and you will just look like a dork if you have to run.
  • Gloves – Sturdy gloves will be a huge advantage if you have to do work you aren’t accustomed to. They can prevent cuts, burns and blisters.
  • Simple First Aid Kit with Blood Stopper – I am not talking about the cheap kind with Band-Aids and some Neosporin. If you have to walk home you can tough minor cuts out, but a blood stopper or Israeli bandage can be used for large bleeds. If things are bad enough you are walking home, you probably don’t want to go to the hospital if you can avoid it.
  • Dust Mask – I have regular dust masks that are really only good for dust and N95 masks which should be used in certain situations.
  • Hat – Good at keeping the rain, sun or snow off your head.
  • Sunglasses – The ideal pair of sunglasses are also safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris.
  • Snack/Energy Bars – Let’s face it you will not die if you have to walk home for a few hours but a little snack bar can lift your spirits and occupy your mind for a while. A little shot of energy never hurt anyone either.
  • Spare Ammo – Make sure you can refill that magazine if it empties out.
  • Lighter – I have a couple of lighters because they are just simpler than using a fire steel.
  • Spare Cash – In a power outage or worse, you may not be able to access the ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted either but cash usually is.
  • Paracord – A million and one uses.
  • Duct Tape – Two million and two uses.
A Stainless Steel water bottle like this Nalgene will allow you to boil water if needed.

A Stainless Steel water bottle like this Nalgene will allow you to boil water if needed.

Tier 2 – 4- 8 hours away

To walk for 8 hours at the average pace of 3 miles an hour that would put you approximately 24 miles away from home. I would have everything in the Tier 1 Get Home Bag plus the following items.

  • Spare batteries for flashlights
  • Bivvy sack or Wool Blanket – SOL makes a great emergency bivvy sack that will keep you alive in pretty cold temperatures. This or a wool blanket if you have to spend the night outdoors.
  • Tarp or Poncho – Either can be used to keep the rain off of you. A camouflage poncho can also help keep you hidden.
  • Garbage Bags – You can lay or sit on these to keep water off your backside.
  • Spare Medications (if needed)
  • Spare socks – If you are walking for over 4 hours or are sweating a lot you will want to change your socks. Hang the old ones off your Get Home Bag to dry out. As a bonus you may want foot powder and moleskin for blisters.
  • Additional Layer for warmth – Simple base layers are lightweight and take up little space.
  • Wool or fleece cap – Nights get cool even in the summer.
  • Radio
  • Tinder materials for fire – I have seen some people add dryer lint and some WetFire tabs and place them inside their roll of toilet paper.
  • Water purification tablets – Simpler than bleach, cheaper than a LifeStraw and take up less room than most filters. Of course if I was going to carry a water filter I would carry the Sawyer Mini water filter because it takes up minimal room and weighs ounces.
  • Toilet Paper – Hey, when the SHTF you might need to take a… well you know what I mean. Also useful for cleaning glasses, blowing your nose or as tinder for a fire.

Tier 3 – Overnight Distance 80 + miles.

Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack - $65.98

Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack – $65.98

If you are like me and the commute was extra-long or the traveling conditions were hazardous it may take you 24 hours to make it home. This will involve sleeping somewhere overnight unless you just have to plug on and make it all in one shot. For a Tier 3 Get Home bag, I would add to the contents of the first two tiers, the following:

  • Sleeping Bag – Size and temperature appropriate to your climate and season.
  • Large fixed blade knife – This could be used for larger chores like chopping firewood for your fire or making larger holes in people.
  • Spare magazine for pistol – Can’t be too safe.
  • Walking Sticks – If you are walking 80 miles you would probably need a walking stick before it’s all over with. Walking sticks relieve pressure on your knees and can also be used with your poncho to make a shelter.
  • Advanced First Aid – Blood Stoppers, Celox and Ace Bandage
  • Additional Energy Bars or Survival Rations

What is the best bag to use for a Get Home Bag?

That is the million dollar question isn’t it? Well, first it helps to assemble all of your items to see how much space you need. For my Tier 1 Get Home Bag I use a Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack which fits everything I have, minus the shoes very nicely. I haven’t used them personally but am interested in the 5.11 Rush bags that come in three sizes to coincide with the duration of your stay (12, 24 and 72). I know the 5.11 brand and have several of their products, just not any bags and they have been of the highest quality. You do pay for that quality, but I think it is worth it and I want to get my hands on one of these bags for a review.

I have also been interested in looking at the Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack from 3VGear. The price is certainly reasonable so I am considering getting one of those to review also. At less than half the price of a 5.11 bag, it’s worth considering. There are so many options out there and you don’t have to spend a fortune on a bag to hold your gear. Most likely you aren’t being dropped into hostile territory in Afghanistan so most regular backpacks will do the job for you but your own needs and tastes will decide what works best.

In conclusion, you might be wondering what the difference between a Bug Out Bag and a Get Home Bag is and if you count all of the tiers together, throw in some more food and maybe cooking utensils you are pretty much looking at the same thing. It might be a good indicator that you have too much if you can’t tell the difference. Either that or you work a long way from home.

Hopefully this helped with some information. Any items I missed?

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Revisiting Precious Metalshttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/09/29/revisiting-precious-metals/ http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/09/29/revisiting-precious-metals/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:50:21 +0000 http://www.theprepperjournal.com/?p=11411 Written by Richard Bryant on The Prepper Journal.

Because the topic has been discussed extensively, I had sworn off writing about investing in precious metals as part of a preparedness strategy.  However, everything I see on the subject seems so flawed and misleading that I simply cannot resist the impulse to share some alternate (or perhaps less-biased) views on the subject. It seems […]

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Written by Richard Bryant on The Prepper Journal.

Because the topic has been discussed extensively, I had sworn off writing about investing in precious metals as part of a preparedness strategy.  However, everything I see on the subject seems so flawed and misleading that I simply cannot resist the impulse to share some alternate (or perhaps less-biased) views on the subject.

It seems that everyone who is advocating metal investments starts their sales pitch with the claim that the investor should buy metals to protect the value of their assets from a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar (aka ‘inflation’).  Eventually however, those same advocates close their pro-metal argument by predicting that the metal initially purchased for some number of dollars will ultimately be worth a great many more of those same dollars.

Surely I’m not the only person who sees the contradiction in measuring the success of an investment in terms of the very store of value that one has already called into question?  Someone who truly believes that the value of the dollar will plunge should not, in their next breath, define the success of any investment in terms of those same dollars.  To value things in terms of dollars is to worship at the altar of the dollar, and to lash one’s future to the mast of the sinking ship that all preppers seek to escape!

In this article I will provide a perspective on metals investing that is intended to enable the prepper to make the best possible decisions for their unique circumstances.

Why Metals?

Gold, silver and other metals are commodities, just as are oil, barrels of wheat and ‘pork bellies’.  These other commodities could also be used as a store of value; however there are some important reasons that precious metals are most often preferred:

  • Precious metals don’t degrade substantially over time.
  • Metals are easier to transport – they pack a large amount of value into smaller space.
  • Metals are ‘fungible’ – an ounce of bullion in one location can be exchanged for an ounce of the same bullion elsewhere with no change in value.
  • Unlike agricultural products, the value of metals does not change with the weather or other transient phenomena.

These characteristics of metals have made them an attractive store of value since the dawn of civilization.

It’s All About  V-A-L-U-E

If I were to offer to give you either a crisp, mint-condition twenty dollar bill or another old, weather-beaten twenty dollar bill that had been signed by Elvis Presley, which would you take?  Virtually anyone would take the old, signed bill over the new one simply because there is the belief that the value of the signed bill is much greater than the value of the new one (you could get more “stuff” for the signed bill).

Wise investors don’t think in terms of the dollar value (aka “price”) of their assets nearly as much as they consider the real value, which may not be directly expressed in any quantitative way at all.  For example, if you were to purchase a golf course in an city that a large golfing demographic is relocating into then you would simply know that the value of that investment is going to grow wildly, regardless of the value of the dollar or any other currency.

Ultimately it boils down to “what you can get for your investment”.  If you could purchase 100,000 gallons of regular gasoline with the money you paid for that golf course, and two years later you could sell that golf course and use that money to purchase 500,000 gallons of the same fuel, then you would know that you had made a very good investment.

This principal of ‘true value’ also applies when evaluating the value of the stock market.  There is a measure of the value of the stock market that is called the “DOW in gold dollars” (“DIG$”), which is basically a measure of the value of the DOW Joes industrial average as expressed in troy ounces of gold (a ‘troy ounce’ is a unit of weight that is very nearly 10% heavier than the more commonly used ‘avoirdupois ounce’ – for historical reasons precious metals are still measured in troy ounces.).

By considering value in terms of precious metals one completely takes the dollar (which has whatever arbitrary value the Federal Reserve decides to give it through control of the printing presses) out of your calculations.  Just image how much clearer a picture that would provide you in terms of making ANY sort of medium- to long- term financial decision!

It should be noted that the value of metals is itself not constant.  Theoretically someone might discover a mountain of silver somewhere which would cause the value of silver to plummet.  However, throughout history the value of metals has been vastly more stable than the value of national currencies.

Metals For Post-Collapse Barter

During and after a major disaster it may be impossible to find anyone willing to sell tangible goods for any number of dollars, however it may be possible to, in many instances, trade precious metals for needed goods and services.  Under those circumstances one should base one’s assessment of the value of their metals on their pre-disaster value.  For example, if one ounce of silver bullion were selling today for $20, then it is roughly selling for the price of two good meals or 5 gallons of regular gas.  During and after a major disaster one should expect the value of their metals to somewhat reflect those pre-disaster values.   During the post-disaster recovery the value may grow to be substantially higher, while during the disaster itself the value may be reduced a bit to reflect the fact that “you can’t eat silver”.

SIDENOTE: When my oldest son graduated from college and relocated to the other side of the country I gave him several one-ounce silver rounds, with instructions that he should always equate each of those to one-third of a tank of gas, or to a good meal for himself and his girlfriend.

Metals as the Debtor’s Best Friend

Homeless during the Great Depression

Homeless during the Great Depression

The paradox of precious metals – and one of the salient points that served as the impetus for this article – is that the most substantial advantage offered by metals accrues to those who are least able and likely to own them.  In an inflationary environment (and particularly in the hyper-inflationary environment that many preppers anticipate) the dollar value of precious metals becomes very high while the dollar value of debts remains fixed (in other words, the amount you owe for debts remains unchanged).  Imagine the case of someone purchasing a quality of metals for $1000 and having the dollar value of those metals increase to $100,000 – that individual might then sell those metals and use the cash from that sale to pay off a mortgage.

NOTE: During America’s Great Depression there were countless stories of families being evicted from their homes due to inability to pay their mortgage.  In today’s world the possession of precious metals may be the critical factor in one being able to preserve one’s home.

Meanwhile, the multimillionaire who almost certainly had no debt gets the advantage of preserving the value of his or her holdings, but does not realize the much larger windfall of paying off debt with ‘cheaper dollars’ (assuming that the multimillionaire is debt-free).

This is yet another important reason that preppers should give consideration to owning physical metals.  Perhaps, post-disaster, the dollar value of the metals does not increase sufficiently to pay off a mortgage; however it may very well enable the prepper to service that mortgage long enough for the economy to begin to recover.

Disadvantages of Metals

Holding precious metals is just one of many strategies that are available to the prepper.  Money that could be invested into metals could also be invested into gaining new skills and knowledge that will be needed post-disaster.  Unlike metals, skills and knowledge cannot be taken from you.

One very real risk that the prepper runs when investing in metals is a government confiscation similar to President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102, signed on May 1, 1933, that required all citizens holding more than 5 troy ounces of gold to sell their gold to the government (there were certain minor exemptions – for example for jewelers, dentists and sign-makers).  In today’s dollars the fine for non-compliance with the law was over $180,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison!

There are many who claim that there would never be a return of gold confiscation due to protections that have been built into today’s modern economy.  Perhaps these claims are accurate, but it is also not difficult to imagine metals being confiscated on principle alone, since “hoarding” of metals represents a lack of faith in ‘the system’ that ‘the system’ simply may not be willing to tolerate.  Regardless, if those with metals are forced to sell them at market rates the metals will almost certainly have still increased dramatically in dollar value before that time, and the money derived from that sale could still be re-invested in other preps.

Another disadvantage of holding physical metals is the risk of theft.  Laws have been passed that call into question the security of the contents of safe deposit boxes against seizure, and one must also question other 3rd parties that offer to store metals for the investor (particularly in the aftermath of a major disaster).  These considerations cause many savvy investors to maintain physical possession of their metals, with some actually choosing to bury their metals underground for safe storage.

Yet another risk associated with investment in metals is that they become so popular that yet another ‘bubble’ (this time a ‘gold bubble’) develops in the economy.  This could result in a dramatic drop in the value of metals.  Most experts do not believe that at present we are experiencing any sort of gold bubble.

NOTE: My grandfather was the kindest, most sweet and gentle man that I ever knew.  I never knew him to utter a harsh word about anyone … with the notable exception of President Franklin Roosevelt.  I believe the only time I ever heard him use swear words was with regard to President Roosevelt’s confiscation of gold.

Conclusion

Storing the value of one’s money in the form of precious metals is almost certainly a good way to protect its value from the ravages of (politician-controlled) inflation.  If one happens to have a significant amount of debt, the potential to later sell those metals and use the resulting cash to retire those debts is quite compelling.   There are other preparedness needs that should be addressed before any prepper should consider investing in metals (e.g. food, water, shelter and defense).  Once these fundamental needs have been satisfied, however, a judicious investment in precious metals could make a big difference in quality of life in the medium- to long- term following a major disaster.

About the Author:  Richard Bryant is author of the preparedness book “When There is No FEMA – Survival for Normal People in (Very) Abnormal Times” and a long-time preparedness group organizer in Central Florida.  He has recently relocated permanently to his disaster retreat in rural West Tennessee.  The first 60 pages of his book are available for review and download at http://www.nofema.com.

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